It's Illinois, as Always, in Big Ten; Iowa's McClear Is Medalist
May 3, 2021
CARMEL, Ind. -- Iowa led for much of the final round of the 2021 Big Ten Championships on Sunday at the brutally difficult Crooked Stick Golf Club. In the end, however, it was Illinois on top. So what else is new?
The Illini got off to a shaky start, but they were10 under par as a team for the last 10 holes -- in wndy conditions on a course where the field was a combined 664 over par for three days. Illinois was 1 over for the day, with a 289, for an cumulative 883. Iowa was even par at 288 on Sunday, but came up one stroke short at 884. Northwestern was a distant third at 897. No other team broke 900.
There is a certain inevitability to an Illinois victory at the Big Ten tournament. This was the sixth consecutive time the Illini have won the team title, and the 11th time in 12 years.
Iowa did take home the individal crown, however. Mac McClear -- a sophomore who is, ironically, from Illinois -- made only six bogeys in three rounds and played his final nine in 2 under. That enabled him to shoot a valedictory 71 and be the only player in the field to finish 54 holes under par, with a total of 215 (1 under). He won by three strokes.
It was his second victory of the season. The first came in the Spartan Intercollegiate at the Sea Island Plantation Course at Sea Island, Ga.
McClear's teammate Alex Schaake closed with an even-par 72 and tied for second place at 218, along with Adrien Dumont de Chassart of Illinois and Joe Weiler of Purdue. Like Iowa, Illinois had two players in the top five. Michael Feagles claimed fifth at 220, after shooting a final-round 72. All five Illinios players were at 73 or better on Sunday.
Minnesota's Angus Flanagan was the defending champion. He won the title two years ago, and there was no tournament last year, because of the Covid 19 pandemic. The senior from Woking, England, opened with a 75 on Friday and followed that with a 77 and a 73. The resulting 225 put him in a tie for 13th. Connor Glynn, a sophomore from Waconia, was the only other Gopher in the top 20. He produced Minnesota's best score of the week on Sunday, a 73, and finished in a tie for 20th at 227.
As a team, the Gophers saved their best for last. They put together a 294 on Sunday and moved up one place, to ninth, finishing with an overall 914.
Flanagan's 225 total (9 over) is another measure of just how difficult Crooked Stick is. He had won twice in the last month, at Purdue's Boilermaker Invitational and Nebraska's Git R Done Husker Invitational, both times with 54-hole aggregates of 207. In 2020, he played two tournaments in Minnesota -- the State Open at Royal Golf Club and Minnesota Golf Champions at Golden Valley G&CC -- and won them both. Those are not easy courses, yet he managed to be a combined 27 under par in the two victories.
It would appear that the Gophers' season is over. They are currently No. 112 in the Golfstat Rankings, and won't move up much based on their finish in the Big Ten. There will be 81 teams receiving invitations to the NCAA Division I regional tournaments. Another 45 individuals not on teams receiving invitations will also be invited to play in the regionals.
Flanagan is Minnesota's highest-ranked player, at No. 111.
Regardless of whether he gets a chance to play in the NCAA regionals, Flanagan will be back in action next weekend, as part of the 10-member Great Britain & Ireland team playing against the U.S. side in the Walker Cup Matches at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla.
MEN'S COLLEGE GOLF
Big Ten Championships
At Crooked Stick Golf Club
Par 72, 7,325 yards
1. Illinois 300-294-289--883
2. Iowa 300-296-288--884
3. Northwestern 309-297-291--897
4. Michigan State 312-294-298--904
5. Ohio State 309-301-295--905
6. Indiana 311-302-293--906
7. Purdue 313-299-295--907
8. Rutgers 307-301-301--909
9. Minnesota 314-306-294--914
10. Penn State 305-307-306--918
11. Maryland 309-312-302--923
12. Nebraska 317-305-307--929
13. Michigan 319-310-305--934
14. Wisconsin 318-317-312--947
1. Mac McClear, Iowa 74-70-71--215
T2. Adrien D. de Chassart, Illinois 73-71-74--218
T2. Alex Schaake, Iowa 72-74-72--218
T2. Joe Weiler, Purdue 77-68-73--218
5. Michael Feagles, Illinois 77-71-72--220
T6. John Driscoll, Northwestern 71-75-75--221
T6. James Piot, Michigan State 77-71-73--221
T6. Christopher Gotterup, Rutgers 77-76-68--221
9. Ethan Shepherd, Indiana 79-71-73--223
T10. Tommy Kuhl, Illinois 73-79-73--224
T10. Garrett Tighe, Iowa 73-77-74--224
T10. Felix Kvarnstrom, Ohio State 77-74-73--224
T13. Angus Flanagan, Minnesota 75-77-73--225
T20. Connor Glynn, Minnesota 77-77-73--227
T37. Thomas Longbella, Minnesota 83-75-74--232
T37. Ben Warian, Minnesota 80-77-75--232
66. Harrison Arnold, Minnesota XX-XX-74