Illinois defends East Lake Cup title
Illinois celebrates their second straight East Lake Cup title <br>(East Lake Cup Photo)
Illinois celebrates their second straight East Lake Cup title
(East Lake Cup Photo)

ATLANTA, GA (November 2, 2016) -- The East Lake Cup is just two years old and Illinois remains as the only winners of the cup. On a picture perfect Wednesday the top-ranked team in the country defeated reigning national champion Oregon 3-2 in the championship match at the East Lake Golf Club.

All week long the freshman played a big roll in the Illini success and it was first year player Bryan Baumgarten who earned the title clinching point with a 5&4 triumph over redshirt senior Sulman Raza. The match was tight early but back-to-back hole outs from green side bunkers on Nos. 8 and 9 allowed Baumgarten to open up a 2 up lead that he would only extend.

"The match was a bit back and forth early and to (hole out) on the 8th just fired me up," Baumgarten told Golf Channel. "And then my assistant coach and I joked around that I could do it again on No. 9 and I did."

Spurred on by the hole outs Baumgarten won the 10th, 12th and 14th hole to close things out.

"I struggled during stroke play and yesterday and today I knew I just needed to go out and play golf and win or lose go and see what would happen," continued Baumgarten.

Illinois, playing as the two-seed, also got victories from junior Nick Hardy who defeated Oregon sophomore Edwin Yi 5&4 and sophomore Edoardo Lipparelli who was able to best Duck redshirt sophomore Nigel Lett 2&1.

The win for Illinois concluded what was a dominant fall season as they won four of the five events they played in. As a result the stage is set once again for a deep run in the NCAA's.

"That is our goal again, to make match play (at the NCAA's) and once you do that anything can happen," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "But we have to get better and each one of these guys knows that they have to get better if we have a mission that we are going to get to staring next to spring and maybe later this fall but we have to earn it, it certainly isn't going to be given to us."

In the finals Oregon got wins from redshirt sophomore Ryan Gronlund 5&4 over freshman Michael Feagles while senior Wyndham Clark outlasted junior Dylan Meyers 1 up.

Meyers was 2 up after 12 holes but Clark was able to surge into the lead with wins on Nos. 13, 15 and 15.

"We gave it our best but unfortunately we didn't have our best and to beat a team like Illinois you have to be really good and we were just a little short today. But the experience being out here and with (Golf Channel) televising it is incredible what the value that adds," Oregon head coach Casey Martin said.

Illinois moved onto the finals with a win over Texas while Oregon defeated Vanderbilt.

The consolation match was won by two-seed Texas 4-1 over top-seeded Vanderbilt.

ABOUT THE East Lake Cup

Inaugural event in 2015. Hosted by the historic East Lake Golf Club Atlanta, this collegiate, two-day match- play competition features the top-performing teams from the previous year's NCAA Men’s Golf Championships.

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