Three of Illinois' four PGA contestants--Steve Stricker (5-under), Luke Guthrie (2-over) and D.A. Points (3-over)--will play on the weekend.
But a pair of 76s left Mike Small 12-over par on Friday after two rounds at the PGA at Oak Hill, far from making the cut for the fourth time in his nine PGA appearances.
Even though the Illini golf coach was playing in only his third multi-day event since November, left with a bad taste in his mouth
``I brought nothing to the table all week,'' Small said. ``You have to hit the fairways, and I had trouble hitting it inside the ropes, let alone the fairways. This is my third event since November, but no excuses. I have to get better.''
With Illinois coming off an impressive season in which it finished second in the nation, Small, 47, is enjoying great success in his day job. And that's cut into his practice time.
``My [coaching] job has really exploded,'' he said. ``There are a lot more demands on my time--and of course, there's recruiting. But that's the way it is.''
He's also a 2013 inductee to the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. But Small left Oak Hill pondering how to be more competitive in future PGAs.
``I don't know,'' he said when asked if he needs to play more competitive golf or simply practice more. ``I just have to figure things out. I need to get better, to spend more time at it and figure some things out.''
That said, he was pleased to be one of four Illini alumni in PGA field along with Steve Stricker, D.A. Points and Luke Guthrie.
``It's neat; we're growing as a program,'' Small said. ``It's fun to be a part of it. I just wish I could have held up my end fo the bargain and played a little better.''
A three-time winner of the PGA's national club-pros championship, Small has missed only one PGA since 2004, and has made the cut three times, most recently in 2011. That tournament and the Illinois Open are the only tournaments he's played in since November.