By Nate Sell, Daily Sports Writer
Published October 9, 2012
The Michigan men’s golf team took a trip out to South Bend for the three-day Fightin’ Irish Gridiron Classic hosted by Notre Dame. The Wolverines struggled and finished 11th out of 12, a whole 23 strokes behind first-place Michigan State.
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The tournament didn’t give the team the kick-start to the rest of the season that it was hoping for, but the silver lining was a strong performance by sophomore Noori Hyun. Hyun shot a career-best round on the second day to finish the tournament three over par, good enough for a personal-best eighth-place finish.
“This weekend, I didn’t change a lot of my game,” Hyun said. “I just tried to be more aggressive and that helped me be more confident. Heading into the third day I was just trying to play the same way I did on the second day, I wasn’t thinking about the score. I was just going shot by shot.”
Michigan coach Chris Whitten said he was impressed by Hyun’s performance and was happy to see it all come together for him.
“(Hyun’s) game has looked good for a long time, just the scores didn’t quite match up with how his game looked with the eye test,” Whitten said. “His finish could have been better with a stronger last couple holes but he was really playing well.”
Moving forward, Hyun said he hopes to eliminate his shaky rounds and play more consistent golf to further help the team.
The Wolverines have played in three tournaments so far, and in each one a different golfer has lead the team — freshmen Brett McIntosh and Chris O’Neil, and Hyun. Each of them finished in the overall top-10 of each tournament.
“(This) means we have got a lot of good talent, but we just need to put it all together at the same time,” Whitten said.
With its three strongest players thus far playing their best tournaments on three separate occasions, Michigan hopes to find a way to get everyone on the same page. It is essential to the team’s success that all three shoot effective rounds together to help lower the overall team score.
The main struggle was that the team wasn’t finishing out rounds. The Wolverines would shoot well until the end of the day, and then make mistakes on the last few holes that caused their scores to climb — resulting in the team falling back in the tournament.
“The guys are doing a good job with their decision making,” Whitten said. “(Heading into the last day we felt) pretty good. Every guy felt like his game was there and maybe the mistakes we made were very correctable by the next day, and for the most part the round went well for us — we just didn’t finish well on our last three or four holes.”
O’Neil and McIntosh had solid showings, finishing in 38th and 46th place respectively.
“I was happy to see Brett get better each round, his ball striking got better each day,” Whitten said.