Northwestern Plays Big Ten Host For First Time in 50 Years
April 25, 2006
Northwestern University is set to play host to the 2006 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships, which will be held Friday through Sunday, April 28-30, at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.
With all 11 conference schools participating, the 87th edition of the Big Ten Championships will be 72 holes of competition with 36 holes Friday (April 28), 18 holes Saturday (April 29) and a final 18 holes Sunday (April 30). Conway Farms Golf Club will be set up for a par of 71 and 7,168 yards.
Michigan State is the defending Big Ten champion, as the Spartans captured the 2005 title by five strokes over Indiana last year at Wisconsin. A new individual champion will be determined this weekend, after the departure of Indiana's Jeff Overton, the 2005 Big Ten Champion, two-time conference Player of the Year and current PGA Tour member.
Entering this weekend's event, four Big Ten squads appear in the current Golfweek/Sagarin Top 50 national rankings. Northwestern leads all conference teams at No. 31, while Minnesota is 33rd, Purdue is 42nd and Indiana is 47th.
From the four ranked teams, four individuals are rated in the nation's top 100 and enter the weekend as possible favorites. Northwestern's David Merkow is 64th, followed by No. 75 Jorge Campillo of Indiana, No. 81 Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Purdue and No. 94 Bronson La'Cassie of Minnesota. La'Cassie, the 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Merkow have each earned Golfer of the Week honors once this season, while Campillo leads all conference linksters with three. Northwestern's Dillon Dougherty could also be in the mix, as he is just weeks removed from competing at the Masters.
Two side notes surround the Big Ten Championships as the event returns to a 72-hole format after operating the last two years at 54 holes, and that Northwestern returns as host after a 50-year hiatus. Purdue was victorious in the last Big Ten Men's Golf Championships hosted by the Wildcats in 1956. The Boilermakers beat runner-up Michigan by seven strokes for the win.
In the history of the Big Ten Men's Golf Championships, each of the 11 conference squads have captured the league title. Ohio State leads all teams with 23 wins, followed by Michigan and Purdue with 12 each. Indiana has eight, while Illinois and Northwestern have each earned seven team titles.
Thursday, April 27: Practice Round (9 a.m.)