Fifty-four holes in two days is far from an easy trip on the green, no matter how skilled the golfer, and first-year Michigan coach Zach Barlow knew that his team would need to dig deep in order to find success at the Crooked Stick Tournament in Carmel, Ind.  

With weather against them and a tough field to go up against —  No. 13 Georgia and No. 5 Vanderbilt to name a few —  the Wolverines started the first day of play with a 306 through 18 holes.

“It’s always tough to stay in it when you have a rough start,” Barlow said. 

With Michigan in 13th place and 11 of the other 14 teams in the field all scoring under 300 after the first 18 holes, it was a challenge for the Wolverines to claw back in the second round. 

Junior Charlie Pilon did just that. After shooting a 75 for 3-over par in the first round, Pilon reeled in a 71 for 1-under par to close out the 36-hole day. His three birdies on the 5th, 9th and 12th holes helped him lead the Wolverines up one spot to 12 at the end of the first day. 

Sophomore Ben Dunn had a solid first day as well, tallying a 76 for 4-over par on both of his rounds. At the end of the first day, and through 36 of 54 holes, Michigan sat in 12th place.

 “A two-round day is mentally demanding and physically demanding,” Barlow said. “We need to learn how to just focus on the present. We need good stretches of golf to be longer and bad stretches of golf to be shorter.” 

The third round started off delayed one hour due to frost on the course. With winds a problem just like the day before, the Wolverines had a lot to deal with if they wanted to make it back to Ann Arbor with a successful tournament.

Senior Brent Ito had a late surge on the back nine with two back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes and another on the 17th to give him a 73 for 1-over par on the day. This, combined with a solid third round performance from junior Henry Spring —  75 for 3-over par — put Michigan at 10th place to end their tournament. 

Pilon led all golfers with a combined 223 for 7-over par after 54 holes. Freshman Pier Francesco de Col performed well too, shooting a 76 for 4-over par in his first round, second on the team at the end of that round, and also knocking in two back-to-back birdies to start off the third round. 

“We have a ways to go,” Barlow said. “Our short game needs to get better, it is your insurance policy.”

Even though the short game didn’t impress, Barlow attested a bright spot from the tournament, Pilon’s comeback second round, to his assistant coach Matt Hoffman. 

“Matt walked with him for a couple holes,” Barlow said. “(They both) got in a good rhythm.”

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