Twenty-eight years in the past as we speak — Might 16, 1993 — Champaign’s Jamie Fairbanks turned the eighth Illinois males’s golfer in historical past to win medalist honors on the Massive Ten championships.
Taking part in at Indiana College’s course, the Centennial Excessive College graduate’s four-round whole of 286 was one stroke higher than Iowa’s Jon Frommett, Michigan State’s Heath Fell and Wisconsin’s Jason Fitchett. What turned out to be his profitable spherical, a 68, got here on Friday. Fairbanks remembers it nicely.
“I had a stretch the place I obtained sizzling with the putter — 20- 25- 30-foot birdie putts — and made 4 in a row,” he mentioned. “It switched a spherical into one thing that was going to profit me quite a bit.”
Throughout Sunday’s final-day competitors, he shot a 73, a spherical that included bogies on the seventeenth and 18th holes.
“I keep in mind that I used to be upset and upset on the finish of that spherical as a result of I believed that I may need blown the match,” Fairbanks mentioned. “I missed a four-or five-footer for par on the final gap. It’s not like as we speak the place they’ve scoreboards that informed us what was occurring. There have been rumors of a man who was just a few below on the again 9, however I didn’t know for positive what I wanted to do. Then to complete bogie-bogie, I felt like I may need blown the match.
“I completed sooner than lots of the others and a few of those that have been shut behind me nonetheless had a number of holes to play. My coach (Ed Beard) and my dad and mom have been making an attempt to settle me down. To lastly discover out that I had gained by one shot was exhilarating. Successful the Massive Ten Match was the spotlight of my faculty profession.”
Fairbanks’ particular person victory gave Illinois males’s and girls’s golf a sweep of medalist honors in 1993. Only a week earlier than, his good pal Renee Heiken, had gained the women’ Massive Ten Match.
“It was a terrific week for Illinois golf,” he mentioned.
Suffice it to say, Illini golf’s amenities have modified dramatically since Fairbanks lettered from 1991-94.
“It’s a night-and-day distinction from what the youngsters have as we speak,” he mentioned. “I’m embarrassed to say it, however I’m happy with it as nicely. Within the wintertime, within the dungeon of Huff Corridor, we had a darkish, tiny room arrange the place we may hit balls right into a web. You can barely match into the room to swing. I went down there hour after hour within the wintertime and hit ball after ball right into a hitting web. There have been no simulators, no heated bays, we weren’t hitting at a goal … we have been simply thumping a ball right into a web.
“Surprisingly, you might inform the way you have been hitting the ball simply from the texture of the membership. It was you, by your self, in a darkish room beneath Huff Corridor. Right this moment’s children have tools that measures their swing speeds and their arc angles and trajectories and spin charges. Actually, after I performed, Illinois golf was not on the radar wherever.
“We ran three days per week on the Armory and we hit 5 days per week at Huff. Any day that we may get outdoors to play on the Orange and Blue (at Savoy) was particular. There have been a whole lot of chilly, windy days out on that vary, hitting it out towards the corn discipline. While you lastly obtained to your first match down South, it was at all times a little bit of an journey.”
Now, almost three a long time since he final performed for the Illini, Fairbanks is a really proud alumnus.
“I’ve gotten to see the entire transition,” he mentioned. “I got here to Illinois when the workforce was beginning to make a reputation for itself. Steve Stricker was the beginning of it. I used to be completely satisfied to proceed a little bit little bit of the success by profitable a Massive Ten championship.
“It’s unbelievable the job that Mike (Small) has executed. The standing of this system as we speak definitely makes me proud to say that I used to be a Combating Illini golfer. These days, whenever you have a look at how good these children are, I’m undecided if I could possibly be a member of the workforce.”
Right this moment, Fairbanks and his spouse, Yolanda, function Champaign Urbana House Rental, renting single-family properties within the space. Their 5 kids vary from nine-years-old to 19-year-old daughter Miranda, a sophomore at Indiana College.
“So, two or 3 times a semester, I get to cross the golf course the place I gained the Massive Ten championship,” he mentioned. “And each single time I drive by it, I have a look at it with fond recollections.”
Sunday: Germán Dalmagro, girls’s tennis coach (42)
Monday: Connor Serven, basketball (19)
Tuesday: Gabi Robles, softball
Wednesday: Clay Mason Stephens, gymnastics (24)
Thursday: Fritz Harms, soccer (80)
Friday: Jacob Campbell, baseball (21)
Saturday: Leo Ward, energy & conditioning coach
By Mike Pearson, writer of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Version now stocked in shops). Get extra Illini birthdays, trivia and historic tidbits day by day on Twitter @IlliniLegends and @Spartifacts2021. His web site is www.SportsLLL.com.