Illinois, Danielson win the Boilermaker Invitational

Illinois' Charlie Danielson
Illinois' Charlie Danielson (Tracy Wilcox)

The Fighting Illini came out firing over the first 36 holes at the Boilermaker Invitational, and that flurry of red scores carried them to the title.

Illinois’ 19-under total over the first two rounds put the group 13 shots ahead, which proved more than enough cushion, as the No. 2 Fighting Illini cruised to a seven-shot victory in a 2-over final day.

Seven seemed to be a popular number for Illinois on Sunday, as the Boilermaker win represented the team’s seventh victory of the 2015-16 season.

“Any time we can get a win we are happy,” said Mike Small, Illinois’ head coach. “Winning is a habit that we take pride in, and our goal is to win every week. Winning is an expectation that we’re comfortable with, although we realize that winning is a product of our play. As a coach, I’m thankful for a big lead this weekend. We didn’t have our best today, but it was good enough to hold on for the win.”

The winning carried over to the individual side, too. Charlie Danielson played his final 10 holes of the tournament at the Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Ind., in 4 over yet still posted a three-shot victory. The senior began the tournament in 70 but scorched the layout with a bogey-free second-round 65 that included an eagle on a par 4. Danielson, Golfweek‘s No. 8, reached 13 under overall before his late fall to 9 under.

And that’s not all. Illinois also boasted the runner up, as Nick Hardy posted a 6-under total over three days.  The sophomore actually played his first nine holes of the tournament in 6 under, and then posted four birdies and four bogeys over his final 45 holes. No. 21 Thomas Detry (T-14, even par), Eduardo Lipparelli (T-18, 1 over) and No. 27 Dylan Meyer (T-22, 3 over) finished out the Fighting Illini lineup.

Host No. 31 Purdue finished in runner-up position, thanks to three consecutive sub-par rounds that boosted the Boilermakers to 10 under. Stuart Macdonald (T-5, 3 under), Brian Carlson (T-7, 2 under), Austin Eoff (T-10, 1 under) and Fernando Barco (T-10, 1 under) led that charge.

Northwestern and No. 48 Kent State posted strong final rounds to secure third and fourth place, respectively. The Wildcats (3 under overall) put together a 7-under score thanks to the efforts of Ryan Lumsden (67) and Joshua Jamieson (69). Dylan Wu led the way overall in a tie for third at 5 under. The Golden Flashes (1 over) had the round of the day at 8 under. Ian Holt (fourth, 4 under) paced that group through three days.

No. 43 Michigan State (8 over), No. 47 Louisville (18 over) and Ohio State (20 over) posted in fifth, sixth and seventh.

Illinois has now won the Boilermaker back-to-back years and have captured its last two tournaments this spring. Danielson’s individual win was the fourth of his college career.

The Boilermaker represented the Fighting Illini’s last tournament before the Big Ten Championship.

– Information from University of Illinois Athletics was used in this report

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