By Lev Facher, For The Daily
Published October 30, 2012
The Michigan men's golf team faltered Monday and Tuesday at one of the most storied golf courses in the world, dropping matches to Texas, Georgia and Washington at Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Calif.
More like this
Competing at the Stanford Classic, Michigan dropped its Monday morning match to Texas, which entered the weekend ranked No. 2. The Wolverines were shut out 12-0 in four-ball competition, which pits two teams of two players each against one another, with the team’s score per hole recorded as the team's lowest individual score.
Michigan got off to a poor start in all three matches against Texas, and in all instances failed to recover. The Wolverines almost avoided being shut out when freshman Andrew Yeager birdied on holes 12 and 15, giving Michigan a short-lived lead that quickly disappeared when the Longhorns won the final three holes.
“Texas is the defending national champ, so it’s pretty hard to play catch-up with them because they’re such a good team,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten. “(We) definitely have the game to compete. We just need to play cleaner, just not make as many mistakes.”
Later on Monday, Michigan fell to No. 15 Georgia in a foursomes format, this time losing 8-4.
The duo of freshman Brett McIntosh and sophomore Noori Hyun tallied three points against the Bulldogs by winning both its second nine holes and the overall match, which were worth one and two points, respectively.
Senior Matt Alessi and freshman Chris O’Neill accounted for the Wolverines’ fourth point against Georgia by winning the second nine, with Georgia conceding the ninth hole after both Wolverines landed their approach shots on the green.
Tuesday’s format shifted to individual matches, with Michigan facing off against Washington. Alessi won all four possible points while senior Miguel Echavarria won three and a half points. Hyun contributed two points, but the other competing Wolverines faltered, winning no matches and allowing the Huskies to come away with the victory to conclude Michigan’s fall season.
“It’s not where we need to be,” Whitten said. “We want to compete as hard as we can, and I don’t think our performance is where we wanted it for the fall. In a way we’re glad that the offseason is here, because it gives us the opportunity to work on a lot of stuff.”
Echavarria cited Michigan’s putting and chipping as aspects of the team’s overall game that could use work.
“Putting is what keeps you in the tournament,“ he said. “We need to improve specifically with putting but also with fixing up a few things technically here and there.”
According to Whitten, the setting alone was worth the long trip to the West Coast. Cypress Point is a course virtually inaccessible to non-members, and it rarely hosts tournaments. The course is consistently ranked in the top-five American golf courses, and is the site of “The Match”, an iconic game in 1956 that inspired a movie of the same name.
“You’re standing on the 16th tee during practice and thinking about all the history that’s been made at that golf course,” Echavarria said.
“It's difficult to put in words how nice (playing at Cypress Point) is and how nice of a golf course it is. Ten years, 20 years from now I'll be looking back thinking about what a great opportunity this was.”