Dylan Meyer, a junior from Evansville, Ind., carded a steady 1-under-par 69 at Baltimore Country Club’s Five Farms East Course to claim the individual crown and lead Illinois, No. 9 in the latest Golfstat rankings, to its third straight Big Ten title Sunday.
Mike Small’s Illinois program has dominated the Big Ten over the last decade and Sunday’s title was the eighth in the last nine years for the Fighting Illini.
Such is their depth that a guy like Edoardo Lipparelli, a sophomore from Italy, can come into the final round leading the individual standings and shoot a 5-over 75 that the Illini throw out an still card a 1-over 281 and win comfortably by 16 shots.
After opening with an 11-under 269 Friday, Illinois played even-par golf the rest of the way for an 11-under 829 total. No. 32 Northwestern closed strong with a 3-under 277 to finish second at 5-over 845.
No. 60 Ohio State matched par with a 280 to claim third, another 10 shots behind Northwestern at 855
It was a really nice finish for No. 50 Penn State, which carded a 1-over 281 to get a share of fourth place at 18-over 858. No. 57 Iowa had the day’s best round, a sparkling 4-under 276, and No. 38 Purdue had a final-round 290 to finish in the tie with the Nittany Lions for fourth at 858.
Meyer had established the course record at the 7,181-yard, par-70 Five Farms layout with a brilliant opening round of 7-under 63. After stumbling to a 73 in the middle round, he finished up with a 69 to finish a shot ahead of hard-charging Will Grimmer, an Ohio State sophomore from Cincinnati, and Ryan Lumsden, a Northwestern sophomore from England, at 5-under 205.
Illinois’ other standout junior, Nick Hardy of Northbrook, Ill., was one better than Meyer Sunday with a 2-under 68 to finish tied for sixth at 1-under 209. Lipparelli, despite falling out of contention for individual honors, still finished alone in eighth at even-par 210.
The Illini also got strong showings from a pair of freshmen. Giovanni Tadiotto of Belgium carded a final-round 71 to finish tied for 10th at 2-over 212 and Michael Feagles of Scottsdale, Ariz. finished up with a 73 to end up tied for 23rd at 7-over 217.
Illinois, and probably a number of its Big Ten rivals, will find out where its season will continue when the NCAA regional fields are revealed Thursday at noon on The Golf Channel. If the Illini can fight their way through the regionals, they could be tough at an NCAA Championship which will be staged not far from home at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Ohio State’s Grimmer fired a sizzling 4-under 66 in the final round to share second with Northwestern’s Lumsden, who posted a final-round 68, at 4-under 206.
Penn State was led by Charles Huntzinger, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga. who capped a strong showing at Five Farms with a 3-uneder 67 to get a share of fourth place at 2-under 208. Huntzinger was joined at that figure by Maryland’s David Kocher, a junior from Charlotte, N.C. who had the best round of the day, a 5-under 65.
Huntzinger’s teammate, junior Cole Miller, a Northwestern Lehigh product and the reigning Pennsylvania Amateur champion, also had a great weekend as he finished up with a 1-under 69 to get a share of sixth with Illinois’ Hardy at 209.
Also for the Nittany Lions, sophomore JD Hughes, a Carlisle product, finished tied for 35th at 220 after a final-round 74. Ryan Davis, a freshman from Berkeley Heights, N.J., rebounded nicely from a second-round 83 with a final-round 71 to finished tied for 59th at 227. And Christian Elliott, a senior from Canada, finished 67th at 235 after a final-round 78.
I’m no bracketologist, but the Nittany Lions should hear their name called when the regional bids are awarded Thursday. Not sure if sophomore Ryan Dornes, a former Manheim Township standout, will be recovered from a fractured hand in time to play in regionals, which tee off May 15, but it’s been a been a pretty good spring for Greg Nye’s team, regardless of what happens at regionals.