Indiana 18 Holes Away from Big Ten Championship
April 29, 2006
LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Saturdays in golf are noted as moving day and nobody made a bigger move than the Indiana men's golf team at the 2006 Big Ten Championships on April 29. Entering the third round in fourth place, the Hoosiers shot a 1-under 283 to take sole possession of the lead through 54 holes with 856 (285-299-283) at the Conway Farms Golf Club (par 71, 7,168 yards). IU sits two shots ahead of Michigan State (277-292-289), three strokes in front of tournament host Northwestern (282-286-291) and six shots clear of Minnesota (288-294-280).
Indiana claimed the second-lowest round in the field behind Minnesota's 4-under-par 289 to garner a spot in the final group for the second straight season. Coincidentally, Michigan State also joined IU in the closing group last season as the Spartans earned the Big Ten title over the second-place Hoosiers by five strokes. Indiana's 856 also is the eight-lowest three-round total in school history and the third best at the Big Ten Championships in IU lore.
Every member of the lineup contributed as Indiana raced up the leaderboard, but Seth Brandon continued to pace the club. The freshman is playing like a veteran and heads into the final 18 in a share of fifth place at 212, the best 54-hole score of his career. After a career-low 66 in round one, Brandon battled to a 73 in round two and picked up his second straight 2 over in round three.
The Dalton, Ga., native carried a 1 over until a double bogey at No. 15 pushed him to 3 over. However, Brandon bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 18th and trails Ryan Brehm of Michigan State by six strokes. Brehm holds a 7-under 206 (64-72-70), two shots in front of Purdue's Pariya Junhasavasdikul (71-66-71). Northwestern's Chris Wilson (65-72) and Minnesota's Bronson LaCassie (72-71-68) are tied for third at 211.
Right behind Brandon following his second straight 1-under 70 is sophomore Santiago Quirarte. The lone Hoosier with experience at the Big Tens is tied for seventh through 54 holes. Quirarte owns a 214 total (74-70-70), going out in 2 under before coming in at 1 over. He finished the day with four birdies and three bogeys.
The most veteran player in the lineup, senior Brad Marek, turned in the team's best effort in round three to gain nine positions and move into a share of 14th place. Bouncing back from an opening 75, Marek posted a 2-over-73 on the second 18 and carded a 2-under 69 this afternoon for a 217 mark.
Returning to neighboring Lake Forest, the Arlington Heights, Ill., product played the frontside in even par and birdied three of the final five holes to close at 2 under. Marek will attempt to collect the best finish of his career (T11th at the 2006 Kepler Intercollegiate, April 15-16) on the final 18.
The final two members of the squad sit in a tie for 23rd position at 220 through three rounds. Freshman Jorge Campillo kicked off the Hoosiers' day and netted a solid even-par 71. Meanwhile, fellow classmate Drew Allenspach added a 74.
Campillo has played the last two rounds in 1-over par (72, 71) after opening with a 6-over 77. Allenspach began the tournament with a 70 and followed that with a 76 and his third-round 74.
"I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but this was another complete team effort," Indiana head coach Mike Mayer said. "Brad Marek gave us just what we needed with a huge 69. Jorge got us of to a real strong start, kicking off the day with a great 71. Santiago played brilliant, and Drew had 35 putts in an otherwise great round. Finally, Seth is hanging around and will not go away. He is playing some great golf."
IU looks for its first Big Ten title since 1998 in the fourth and final round of the championships on Sunday, April 30. Tee times are set for 8 a.m. CDT from No. 1 and 10 tees.
"We gave a great effort in some real difficult conditions," Mayer said. "I think we are getting more comfortable playing at this championship, and we are going to need to come out and fight hard tomorrow. The conditions are supposed to get pretty nasty, so we have to be prepared to go out there and battle to bring a Big Ten championship home."
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