2009 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships Preview
April 30, 2009
Penn State University and the PSU Blue Golf Course will host the 2009 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships on May 1-3. This is the first time since the 1996 season that Penn State has housed the yearly event and just the second time in championships history. The Big Ten currently touts four teams ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Top 50. No. 13 Indiana leads all schools, followed by No. 14 Illinois, No. 31 Michigan State and No. 45 Michigan.
Indiana enters the 2009 event with the No. 2 rated golfer in the nation in senior Jorge Campillo. Campillo is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and a three-time first-team All-Conference selection. He tied for runner up at last year's NCAA Championships and has been named a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan award, given annually to the best collegiate golfer. Campillo is joined by junior Alex Martin in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings as he ranks No. 59.
Illinois has its sight set on the team title this year after finishing third in 2008. The Illini return last season's Big Ten Freshman of the Year Scott Langley, the No. 25 rated golfer in the country, and Chris DeForest, the No. 84 rated player. The duo placed in the top 10 at last year's championships as the Orange and Blue also returns their third- and fourth-best finisher from the 2008 event.
No. 31 Michigan State captured the team title last year and has the ability to do so again this season. Guided by 2009 Master's participant Jack Newman, ranked No. 50 in the nation, the Spartans bring back three of their top four finishers from last year's championships.
No. 45 Michigan will look to veteran Bill Rankin, last year's third-place finishers, to better the Wolverines' fifth-place finish from the 2008 championships. Watch out for sophomore Lion Kim and senior Nick Pumford to produce quality scores for the Wolverines.
Last year's event came down to the final 18-holes as Minnesota surged up the leaderboard recording less eight strokes than MSU, eventually falling short by four swings. Illinois edged Indiana by one stroke after building an 11-swing advantage over the Hoosiers during the first two rounds of play. Campillo totaled the championships seventh-best score throughout a 72-hole event, scoring a 278 (-10).