April 30, 2006
Lake Forest, Ill. - Despite strong winds and morning showers, Northwestern took back the team lead it held after day one to claim the 2006 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships title, the eighth team crown in school history. A strong charge on the back nine, led by Wildcat junior Chris Wilson, proved to be the deciding factor in the team results as NU shot a 17-over 301 today, giving them an overall score of 24-over (282-286-291-301).
Wilson captured the individual title with a 4-under 280 (70-70-71-69) and was the only competitor to record even-par or under marks in all four rounds. The last time Northwestern won a Big Ten team title was in 2001, the same year former Wildcat Luke Donald claimed the individual title. This marks the third time in the NU records books that the Wildcats captured both the team and individual titles.
Minnesota is this year's runner up, improving two spots from yesterday with a final mark of 33-over 1169 (288-294-280-307). Purdue also moved up in the final team standings, firing a 34-over 1170 (284-286-294-306) after four rounds as the Boilermakers finished third, just one stroke behind the Gophers. Michigan State, who led after the first round and sat in second place entering today's championships, dropped to fourth place with a 1172 (277-292-289-314). Illinois made its way into the top-five again (fifth place after two rounds), shooting a 1177 (285-295-288-309).
Indiana ended up in sixth place (285-288-283-325), followed by Penn State (293-299-290-315-1197) and Wisconsin (291-296-296-318-1201). Ohio State (302-309-291-323 -1225), Michigan (308-305-297-318-1228) and Iowa (296-310-302-325-1233) rounded out the final team standings.
With rain and winds subsiding early in afternoon, Northwestern's Chris Wilson began his attack on the 15th hole. After trailing Michigan State's Ryan Brehm through three rounds, Wilson recorded his fourth birdie of the day, chipping in from the back green for a three-shot performance on the par-4 hole to tie Brehm at 2-under. Moving onto the 16th, Wilson's approach shot landed just three feet from the hole while Brehm was faced with a 20-foot down-hill putt. Both golfers birdied to advance to the 17th hole. Just two greens away from an individual title, both student-athletes remained tied but Wilson two-putted his way to an even-par three while Brehm bogeyed with a 1-over. It came down to the final shot on the final hole to decide this year's champion. Brehm two-shot his way to the edge of the green then chipped his way to just a few feet from the hole. He sunk it for his fourth birdie of the day. Because of a short opening drive, Wilson was forced to lay up on his second shot, leaving him with approximately 103 yards to go. On his third stroke, the junior overshot the hole, intending for the backspin to bring him even closer to the tile. As the rain picked up again and with Brehm and numerous Wildcat faithful looking on, Wilson sunk his four-foot putt for birdie and clinched the 2006 Big Ten individual title.
Brehm, the 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the Year ended the day at 4-over 75 and placed second overall with a final score of 3-under 281 (64-72-70-75). Pudue's Pariya Junhasavasdikul placed third with a 1-under 283 (71-66-71-75). The junior recorded two birdies on the day and shot even-par on 11 holes. Minnesota's Bronson LaCassie fired at fourth-round 3-over 74 to take him to 1-over 285 (72-71-68-74), good enough for fourth place. Gopher teammate Clayton Rask finished fifth after shooting a 5-over 289 (72-74-69-74).
All five student-athletes were named to the 2006 Big Ten Championships Team while LaCassie is this year's Les Bolstadt Award winner. The award is given to the student-athlete who records the lowest scoring average in a single season season. Heading into the final round, Indiana's Jorge Campillo appeared to be en route to bring home the award but LaCassie's back nine performance proved to be enough to push past Campillo for the title. The Golden Gopher birdied on the last three holes to bring his season stroke average down to 72.68. Had he not shot 1-under on at least three greens, Campillo would have taken home the award as he boasts a 72.72 season average.
All-Conference teams and individual awards will be announced by the conference office on Tues., May 2.
Ryan Brehm - Michigan State
Bronson LaCassie - Minnesota
Clatyon Rask - Minnesota
Chris Wilson - Northwestern
Pariya Junhasavasdikul - Purdue
Les Bolstadt Award
Bronson LaCassie - Minnesota