Illinois, Penn State and Purdue secured berths to compete in the 2017 NCAA Men's Golf Championships following the conclusion of regional play.
Lobo senior Andrej Bevins finished in a tie on top of the individual leader board with Nick Hardy of IL. BU shattered the school record for an NCAA Tournament round by nine strokes, besting the previous record set in the final round at last year's NCAA Kohler (Wis.) Regional. "Not in a million rounds did I ever think this could happen to this team". Miller finished with the lowest par-4 scoring and shot the third-most birdies in the field.
"The opportunity to play in the national championship is something I thought I'd only dream of", Wallace said. No. 20 Auburn ascended to second (+11), No. 8 IL climbed three spots for third (+14), No. 44 New Mexico slid to fourth, and host No. 38 Purdue snagged the fifth and final spot at 21-over par on their home course.
Illinois will travel to Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL for the NCAA Tournament at the end of May. But they were matched by both Florida and Auburn, who also shot second-round 287s, and the three teams are all tied for third at three-over-par 579.
Junior Nick Hardy was the only golfer in the field to shoot par or under for all three days, and he tied for the lowest individual score of the regional.
"What a gutsy performance by Trent (Wallace)", head coach Ray Kralis said. "The margin of error was so small, but we focused on committing to shots and accepting the results regardless of the outcomes". After going 3 over on the first two holes, he made six consecutive pars before a bogey on 9.
As a team the Lobos finished at 16 over par after starting the final round with a 6 under par total and three shot lead. He then went on to make par on the par-4 14th. He shot a 37 (+1) on the front nine - including birdies on the fourth, seventh and eighth holes. He then found his groove and made par on four of the next five holes and birdied the par-4 seventh to move back to even par.
"Trent faced some adversity finishing his opening nine, but he stayed patient and in the game, which showed his maturity", Kralis said. He kept his composure all week, and I'm proud of his effort.
IL held the sixth position heading into Wednesday's final round at the West Lafayette regional, and closed a five-shot gap on a wild, come-from-behind finish.