Illinois wins first Big Ten title since ’88

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1Joey GarberGeorgia  68.61 
2Robby SheltonAlabama  68.62 
3Patrick RodgersStanford  68.67 
4Ollie SchniederjansGA Tech  68.81 
5Cameron WilsonStanford  69.05 

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1Alabama 68.92 
2Georgia 69.62 
3Georgia Tech 69.62 
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photo

Illinois coach Mike Small during the Isleworth Collegiate.

The last time Illinois won the Big Ten Conference Championship, three players on its current squad had none yet been born.

Led by one of those players, sophomore Chris DeForest, the Fighting Illini captured their first conference crown in 21 years Sunday at Penn State Golf Course.

DeForest, who turns 21 in October, closed with even-par 71 to tie for third as Illinois finished at 13-over 1,149, 13 shots ahead of Minnesota. Freshman Luke Guthrie, 19, finished ninth, and sophomore Scott Langley, 20, tied for 17th.

Junior Zack Barlow, who posted the best final round in the field – 3-under 69 – also tied for 17th.

Illinois last won the Big Ten title in 1988 when current coach Mike Small and PGA Tour player Steve Stricker headlined the roster.

With the victory, the 13th-ranked Fighting Illini have notched a school-record seven titles this season, including four in a row.

Northwestern freshman Eric Chun won the individual title with a 1-under 283 total, and was the only player in the field under par. Indiana’s Jorge Campillo, No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, finished sixth.

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