The Michigan men’s golf team started its trip down to Alabama for the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate Tournament on a mediocre collective score of 290.
But the five Wolverines competing rallied in the second round, salvaging an eighth-place finish out of the 12 competing teams.
“We did not play as well to start off the competition,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten. “It was not as sharp as it needed to be.”
The Wolverines came back after the first round to shoot a 282, behind Auburn, UAB and tied with Florida State.
Junior Kyle Mueller and sophomore Nick Carlson led the comeback in the second round, shooting 69 and 70, respectively. Mueller and Carlson have been consistent in the past two tournaments, putting up averages of 70.44 and 70.77 per round, respectively.
“I played the same game this week, and a couple holes snuck up on me,” Carlson said. “We were playing a tough course under tough conditions, and we took this week and learned from it.”
However, seniors Reed Hrynewich and Tom Swanson tied for 51st place, and freshman Brent Ito finished just behind them in 53rd place. The group went plus-16, plus-16, and plus-17 on the weekend, respectively.
Heading into the final round of the tournament, Michigan stumbled, in part due to the windy conditions and brand new course.
“It was very hilly, and the wind began to pick up yesterday,” Carlson said. “They were tough shots as is, and we didn’t know exactly where the ball would end up.”
But just as hopes were looking high after the second round, the Wolverines shot a 291 in the final round, one shot worse than Michigan’s first round. This allowed for Charlotte and Alabama to increase their ranking ahead of the Wolverines’ finish.
“There were a couple really hard holes,” Whitten said. “The course was fun to play, but there is a learning curve.”
In the Wolverines’ first trip to this course, some of the players fell victim to the windy, hilly conditions. Michigan is looking to improve its team standing and strengthen the bottom of its lineup as it heads to the Dayton Flyer Invitational next week.