FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- The 2014 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships return to French Lick Resort in southern Indiana from May 2-4, and the players will once again take on the challenge of the award-winning Pete Dye course.
Illinois, which finished second at the NCAA Championships last spring, will seek its sixth consecutive Big Ten title and third straight on the Dye course, which has been ranked the No. 1 course in Indiana by Golfweek magazine.
The Big Ten golfers will play 72 holes of stroke play with 36 holes of competition on the first day and 18 each of the final two days.
"It's a great facility with a Pete Dye golf course that challenges every part of your game," said Illinois coach Mike Small, who has more than a coach's perspective on the course. He won the PGA of America's Professional National Championship in 2010 at French Lick Resort.
"You need to have an understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, how your game fits that course and if you end up on the wrong side of the fairways and the wrong sides of the greens it punches you pretty bad," he said. "You play well, you finish well. The champion earns it."
Illinois won its 12th overall title in 2013 by shooting an 11-over par 1,163 team score on the Dye course. Minnesota finished second at 1,172, followed by Iowa at 1,186. Indiana and Ohio State tied for fourth at 1,190. Fighting Illini Thomas Pieters won individual medalist honors by shooting a 4-under 284.
Small's team has been ranked among the top 10 teams in the country again this year, and he said the key to continuing the streak of Big Ten titles is to stay in the present.
"The struggle teams have when they hit a streak is letting the pressure build from expectation levels and then trying to play for previous teams," he said. "That's a pressure you don't need. You want to use the past as confidence, but play for this team now. Make it a positive, confidence thing."
French Lick Resort is also hosting the Big Ten Women's Golf Championships on the Dye course from April 25-27.
"We are very excited to once again be hosting one of the top college championships in the country and to have these great players from the Big Ten Conference experience our world-class golf course," said Dave Harner, director of golf at French Lick Resort. "The resort has become a perfect neutral site for the players and their families to participate in such a prestigious championship."
For more information about the Big Ten Championships and French Lick Resort, please visit www.frenchlick.com or call (888) 936-9360.
About the Big Ten Conference:
The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes' lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based athletic programs of the 12 Big Ten institutions provide in excess of $141 million in direct financial aid to more than 8,200 student-athletes playing on more than 300 teams in 43 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 26 official conference sports, 13 for men and 13 for women, and will add men's and women's lacrosse as the 27th and 28th official sports for the 2014-15 academic year. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.
About French Lick Resort:
French Lick Resort is a $500 million historic restoration and casino development project that includes the West Baden Springs Hotel, French Lick Springs Hotel and the new French Lick Casino. This premier resort and casino destination in Southern Indiana features 686 guest rooms and suites; a 51,000-square-foot, single-level casino; 45 holes of golf, including the fully restored 1917-designed Donald Ross Course at French Lick and the new, 18-hole Pete Dye Course at French Lick; two full-service spas with a combined 36 treatment rooms totaling 42,000 square feet; meeting and event space totaling 115,000 square feet and an array of dining and entertainment options. For more information, visit www.frenchlick.com.
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