Charlie Pilon, Grace Curran win Golfweek Midwest Collegiate titles


Grace Curran misses the familiar sights of college golf. It’s hard to believe that nearly five months have passed since she looked up her name on a Golfstat leaderboard or saw a group of college bags clustered by a putting green. And yet, the atmosphere at the Golfweek Midwest Collegiate was a reminder of all those things she has missed.

Curran played four extra holes at Purdue’s Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Friday afternoon to earn a victory in the women’s division. She eventually defeated incoming Purdue freshman Jocelyn Bruch with a 4-footer for par on No. 1.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” she said of standing over that putt.

Scores: Golfweek Midwest Collegiate

Curran, who will return to Minnesota for her sophomore season, was one of two Minnesota players in what turned out to be a heavily Big Ten field. Two players from the Gophers men’s team were also in the field. Mostly, it was just nice to all be together, Curran said.

“I thought it was fun to look around and see everybody’s college bag,” she said. “It really gave us a college event feel.”

Curran and her team were in California in March when college athletics were called off. The trip overlapped their spring break, but Coach Michele Redman thought it best to head home instead of continue on their golf itinerary.

In the unexpected off-season, Curran had about at two-week dead period with no golf. Other than that, when she was playing, she was on the course instead of grinding on the range.

“You can ask any of my coaches, I can sit on the range forever,” Curran joked. “I need to work my way to the putting green.”

Curran didn’t have a problem with that part at the Kampen course, knocking in birdies at Nos. 12 and 17 – plus an eagle at No. 6 – on her way to a closing 69. Her birdie on No. 17 came right after incoming Purdue freshman Jocelyn Bruch bogeyed the 16th and eventually sent the two to the playoff.

Curran now has won two events in a row after claiming the Minnesota Women’s Match Play Championship last month. She’ll team up with fellow Gopher Emma Carpenter for the Minnesota Women’s Four-Ball Championship.

From where Charlie Pilon is sitting, an abundance of tournament starts is a completely foreign feeling. Pilon, the rising Michigan senior who walked away with a one-shot victory over Purdue’s Cole Bradley in the men’s division, was making his first competitive start this week since March.

It also came shortly after spending 10 days on vacation in Montana, without touching a club.

Pilon grew up in Wagga Wagga Australia, a rural area between Melbourne and Sydney, and doesn’t like to return home in the summers because he’s actually returning to winter.

“I want to play all the summer events available,” he said.

Rounds of 1-under 71 at Kampen book-ended a second-round 68, which Pilon fired on arguably the toughest day, when a steady rain was falling.

“Fortunately it wasn’t too windy,” he said. “Didn’t hit the ball as well as I usually would. My short game, putting and chipping, was doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

“I made some really good putts at some crucial times.”

Pilon last won a tournament at the Baylor-hosted Royal Oaks Collegiate in October 2019. He knows the Kampen course well considering that Michigan often plays in Purdue’s home event here.

Most of the time, Pilon leans on his short game. This week was just the opposite from what he remembers all those months ago.

“It was a nice change of pace to have the short game come through this week



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