The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: MEN'S GOLF formance in conference tournament play, finishing third individually at the 2012 Big Ten Championships April 27-29 in French Lick, Ind., but the U-M golf team limped to a dis- appointing 10th-place finish. Posting a team total of 1,241 strokes, U-M finished 76 strokes behind champion Illinois and outpaced basement dweller Nebraska by only 10. Thompson was the lone top-30 finisher for an otherwise said. "He has played especially well at the Big Ten Champion- ships for four straight years, so it wasn't really a big surprise to see him play like that, but I was still very proud of how he played and especially how he finished. "The best example that Matt sets is in his preparation, inexperienced Wolverines squad. An even-par, final-round 72 solidified his second top-three Big Ten finish in three years (second, 2010), and his 1-over 289 four-round total was just five shots back of individual champion Luke Guthrie of Illinois. "Matt is our senior leader and has had just a tremendous career here at Michigan," first-year head coach Chris Whitten Senior's Top-Three Finish Provides Motivation For Younger Teammates Senior Matt Thompson turned in another strong per- will also prove to be a learning point for the four U-M golfers experiencing the heat of the conference tournament play for the first time — juniors Matt Alessi and Miguel Echavar- ria, and freshmen Andrew Wong and Noori Hyun. Collectively, U-M got off to a slow start, sitting in 10th place The showing by the rest of the Maize and Blue contingent " he performs in the big tournaments, and I think they learn from that. following the first day of action, and could not claw back up the leaderboard. "I know that they weren't happy with their performance, but they are going to get better because of it, and use it as motivation for next year, that nerves were a part of it — all of those guys played ei- ther the whole season or a large chunk of it — but there is something to be said about playing your best when it is the most important. " Whitten said. "I don't really think how he gets ready for the tournaments. He practices so well that I don't think any of the guys are surprised by how well with a four-round, 21-over 309, and pushed himself until the end with a strong 3-over 75 in his final round of the season. "Miguel was really our No. 2 player all year, Echavarria finished second on the team, and 33rd overall, " "He has worked his way up from being a pure walk-on his freshman year to being one of the leaders of this team. He didn't have his best tournament, but I was happy to see that he didn't give up and closed with a solid round. "Miguel is definitely going to be one of our solid returners next year." " Whitten said. concluded his first Big Ten Tournament one spot behind with 325 strokes, and Alessi rounded out Michigan's squad with a 47-over, 335-stroke, 59th-place finish. "It definitely was a disappointing finish for all of us, but I think the best thing is for us to take a long-term approach," Whitten said. "We know what our final goal is, we know how we want to perform, and as long as we are making strides towards that I think we will see the benefit in that. Hyun finished 55th overall with a 36-over 324 tally, Wong pionships but won the NCAA Central Regional outright a year ago, failed to qualify for the NCAA team play for the first time since 2007, and did not finish in the top five of any tournaments this season. "I think overall, it was a year filled with learning experi- ences, especially for the new guys in the lineup," Whitten (also 10th), and only the third time since the program's in- ception in 1920 in which it did not finish better than 10th. U-M, which finished sixth as a team at the Big Ten Cham- said. "I think next year we will have even more competition on the team, which will be good for us when we are at home getting prepared for tournaments, and I think we will continue moving closer to where we know this program should be. Senior Matt Thompson notched his second top-three effort in three years at the Big Ten Championships, shooting a 1-over-par 289. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS 70 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2012 tation as they host an NCAA regional at the University of Michigan Golf Course May 17-19. Thompson's strong senior year earned him an invitation. He will compete as one of 10 individuals. The top five teams, among the 13 participating, plus the lowest-scoring individual of a non-qualifying team (i.e., potentially Thompson) will advance to the NCAA Cham- pionships May 29-June 3 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. — Kevin Minor The Wolverines, however, will not be without represen- " The final result was the school's worst showing since 2006 "

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