(FRENCH LICK) - The 2013 Big Ten Men's and Women's Golf Championships will return to French Lick Resort in southern Indiana April 26-28.
The University of Illinois men will be competing for their fifth straight title and the Michigan State University women will be going for their third straight win.
This marks the second consecutive year that both the men and women will compete on a neutral site. The men's championships will be contested on the award-winning Pete Dye Course and the women's championships will be held nearby on the historic Donald Ross Course. Golfweek magazine ranked the courses No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the state of Indiana.
The men's tournament will be a 72-hole event with 36 holes on the first day followed by 18 holes on days 2 and 3. The women's event will be 54 holes with 18 holes each day. Practice rounds are scheduled for April 25.
"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 courses," said Dave Harner, director of golf at French Lick Resort. "Both courses provide a unique challenge for the players. The resort has become a perfect neutral site for the players and their families to participate in such a prestigious championship."
University of Illinois Men's Team Going for History
The 2013 championships will include the University of Illinois men's team going for its fifth title in a row. Mike Small, the Big Ten Men's Coach of the Year for the last four seasons, has brought national recognition to the Illinois golf program by guiding his team to four straight Big Ten Championships and coaching two out of the last three NCAA individual champions. He is very excited about returning to French Lick Resort to make history.
"The success of our program over the past several years is directly attributable to the quality of student-athletes that we have had, and their commitment and dedication to being the best that they can be. When talent is combined with a mission and a goal, powerful things can happen and has happened," said Small. "French Lick Resort has done a wonderful job playing host to both championships at the same time, which has gained much credibility, as well as creating synergy between the men's and women's programs."
Michigan State women's coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll has built a nationally recognized program over the past 16 years, including eight trips to the NCAA Championships. She has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times. She will be competing for her fifth Big Ten title this year and believes French Lick Resort has become a great venue to host both championships.
The concept of a neutral site is proving successful
"The Big Ten coaches had been talking about trying a neutral site for several years. It was a difficult decision because so many of the student athletes really enjoyed traveling to the different campuses, but French Lick was awesome last year. We felt welcomed everywhere we went, and the resort itself has so much history behind it and both the Ross and the Dye are just wonderful competition venues," she said.
"I remember so clearly walking out to the Ross Course for the first time ever last April and several of our players said right away, "Looks like Northern Michigan." The course sets up good for our players and we picked out a few key holes that we knew we had to play smart.
Both the Pete Dye and Donald Ross courses have a history of hosting elite players and golf events. In 2010, the highly acclaimed Dye course hosted the PGA of America's Professional National Championship, won by Illinois Men's Golf Coach Mike Small. The Donald Ross Course hosted the prestigious LPGA Championship in 1959 and 1960. In addition the Ross course also hosted the 1924 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen. The Ross course will also be hosting the LPGA Legends in 2013.
French Lick Resort is the only resort in the world that combines the classic history of Donald Ross and the modern day design of the legendary Pete Dye. This combination is a wonderful opportunity for Big Ten teams to experience two of the best designers who ever shaped beautiful landscapes into golf courses.
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