Coming off a mediocre finish in Alabama last week, the Michigan men’s golf team rebounded in a decisive manner at the Dayton Flyer Invitational. Led by junior first-time competitor Ian Kim and sophomore Nick Carlson, the Wolverines were the only team to finish with an even-par score, beating the rest of the 18-team field for first place.
Carlson and Kim rallied to first-round scores of plus-one and minus-one, respectively. The duo would carry that performance into the second round, finishing with a total score of 142 — good enough to tie for first place individually. The pair’s efforts also propelled Michigan to its first tournament title win since 2014.
Though Carlson and Kim played a starring role, the result was a total team effort, as not one member of the Wolverines’ squad finished worse than four over par. However, the Wolverines seemed to play the front nine holes better than the back nine. In the first round, three of the five players finished even, and two finished under par on holes 1 through 9.
“We played really smart golf this week,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten. “We needed to position ourselves well on the course, and I think we achieved that.”
Kim was the only member of the squad to shoot under par on the back nine holes, finishing with a 70 on the first day.
“The first round went very smoothly. I hit all the shots that I needed to hit,” Kim said. “Coach was with me the whole time, trying to get me to get used to tournament play.”
Michigan’s play wavered, however, in the second round. Instead of their impressive score of 284 in the first round, the Wolverines scored 296, two shots behind second-place Dayton.
All five Michigan competitors scored significantly worse on the back nine holes again, as senior Bryce Evon shot seven over par.
“The course played tougher in the second round,” Whitten said. “We had a bit of a cushion going into the back nine, and we played well enough to earn the separation.”
Kim and Carlson led the team again with plus-one finishes in the second round to maintain the top spot despite a slight comeback from close challenger Dayton.
Due to their impressive first round, the Wolverines were able to beat out Dayton by eight shots to earn the first-place spot and the breakthrough tournament they were looking for. They will look to improve upon their back-nine performance in their last tournament of the fall season in Dallas next weekend.