Twenty-eight years in the past at this time — Could 16, 1993 — Champaign’s Jamie Fairbanks grew to become the eighth Illinois males’s golfer in historical past to win medalist honors on the Huge Ten championships.

Taking part in at Indiana College’s course, the Centennial Excessive College graduate’s four-round complete 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 properly.

“I had a stretch the place I acquired scorching 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 learn me loads.”

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 event,” Fairbanks mentioned. “I missed a four-or five-footer for par on the final gap. It’s not like at this time the place they’ve scoreboards that informed us what was happening. There have been rumors of a man who was a couple of below on the again 9, however I didn’t know for certain what I wanted to do. Then to complete bogie-bogie, I felt like I may need blown the event.

“I completed sooner than most of the others and a few of those that had been shut behind me nonetheless had a number of holes to play. My coach (Ed Beard) and my mother and father had been making an attempt to settle me down. To lastly discover out that I had received by one shot was exhilarating. Profitable the Huge 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 good friend Renee Heiken, had received the women’ Huge Ten Match.

“It was an excellent week for Illinois golf,” he mentioned.

Suffice it to say, Illini golf’s services have modified dramatically since Fairbanks lettered from 1991-94.

“It’s a night-and-day distinction from what the youngsters have at this time,” he mentioned. “I’m embarrassed to say it, however I’m happy with it as properly. Within the wintertime, within the dungeon of Huff Corridor, we had a darkish, tiny room arrange the place we might 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 had been simply thumping a ball right into a web.

“Surprisingly, you might inform the way you had 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 now’s children have tools that measures their swing speeds and their arc angles and trajectories and spin charges. Truthfully, after I performed, Illinois golf was not on the radar anyplace.

“We ran three days per week on the Armory and we hit 5 days per week at Huff. Any day that we might get outdoors to play on the Orange and Blue (at Savoy) was particular. There have been loads of chilly, windy days out on that vary, hitting it out towards the corn discipline. Once you lastly acquired to your first event down South, it was at all times a little bit of an journey.”

Now, practically 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 crew was beginning to make a reputation for itself. Steve Stricker was the beginning of it. I used to be completely happy to proceed somewhat little bit of the success by profitable a Huge Ten championship.

“It’s unbelievable the job that Mike (Small) has finished. The standing of this system at this time actually makes me proud to say that I used to be a Preventing Illini golfer. These days, once you have a look at how good these children are, I’m unsure if I may very well be a member of the crew.”

Right now, Fairbanks and his spouse, Yolanda, function Champaign Urbana Dwelling Rental, renting single-family houses 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 thrice a semester, I get to move the golf course the place I received the Huge Ten championship,” he mentioned. “And each single time I drive by it, I have a look at it with fond recollections.”

Illini Birthdays

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, creator of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Version now available in shops). Get extra Illini birthdays, trivia and historic tidbits each day on Twitter @IlliniLegends and @Spartifacts2021. His web site is

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