Propelled by the top-10 finish of senior Chris O’Neill at the Aggie Invitational this weekend, the Michigan men’s golf team recovered from a slow start Saturday to finish the tournament eighth overall, the Wolverines’ best finish to date at the Texas A&M meet.
Michigan struggled early, as junior Reed Hrynewich led the Wolverines with a score of 73 after one round. With scores of 77 coming from Michigan’s other four competitors, the Wolverines ended the round with a score of 304, placing them 10th in the field of 15 schools.
“We definitely left a little bit of room for improvement,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten. “But that was all in the first round.”
The Wolverines rebounded quickly in the second round, where postings of 71 by O’Neill and 72 by sophomore Kyle Mueller helped Michigan post a score of 296. Despite the second round getting cut short because of darkness, the Wolverines were able to drop eight strokes, which set them up to rise in the field during the final round on Sunday.
They took advantage of that opportunity, with O’Neill tying the day’s best score with a tally of 69. Mueller contributed a final total of 70, and Hrynewich notched his second posting of 73 in the tournament.
Driven by O’Neill’s seventh under-par round of the year, Michigan finished round three with an under-par score of 287 and forged ahead two spots to eighth overall.
“We got off to a rough start,” O’Neill said. “But we don’t really have any individuals on our team, and everyone just thought about playing as well as they can to help the team out.”
Michigan’s recovery in rounds two and three helped three Wolverines to finish in the top 20 for the tournament. O’Neill finished tied for 10th with a score of 217 (77-71-69). Next came Mueller in 15th with a score of 219 (77-72-70) and Hrynewich in 20th with 222 (73-76-73).
Rounding out the starting five for Michigan were freshman Nick Carlson, who tied for 50th with a score of 229 (77-77-75), and junior Tom Swanson in 76th with a posting of 243 (77-86-80).
As the team heads to Ohio State next weekend, Whitten emphasized the continued importance the team will put on teamwork going forward.
“I feel like at Michigan, the tradition of the team and doing things together is so important,” Whitten said. “It’s something we feel that we need to identify with.”