The Michigan men’s golf team entered the final round of the Tar Heel Intercollegiate at the UNC Finley Golf Course looking to recover from a disappointing opening two rounds. The Wolverines were left trailing the rest of the field by the time players teed off Sunday morning in Chapel Hill.
After shooting a combined 37 strokes over par as a team during the first two rounds and sitting in last place out of 14 teams after Saturday, Michigan coach Chris Whitten and the Wolverines were determined to respond.
“It was unacceptable the way we played the first two rounds and we know we’re better than that,” Whitten said.
In previous tournaments this season, Whitten felt that his team played well in final rounds, and the Wolverines did just that on Sunday.
Despite being 39 strokes out of the lead and without a viable path back to contention, Michigan was unfazed and settled down to improve its overall team score. The Wolverines rebounded by scoring three under par to elevate themselves from last place to twelfth. The Michigan coaching staff noticed an increased level in confidence and comfort on the course on Sunday after lackluster performances up to that point.
“We were determined to play very solid golf with good decisions and good attitudes today and take a step in the right direction going into the next tournament,” Whitten said.
The home squad, North Carolina, took the top spot on the leaderboard as a team over the weekend, while Illinois’ Adrien Dumont de Chassart dominated the competition individually by outshooting the next closest opponent by six strokes. North Carolina was the only team to remain under par by the tournament’s conclusion.
Standout performances by Michigan came from sophomore Henry Spring and senior Nick Carlson. Spring finished as the team’s lowest scorer for the second consecutive tournament, tying for 18th place after a successful two-under-par outing on Sunday. Carlson finished tied for 31st overall by shooting two under par on Sunday and seven over par in total.
The Wolverines now turn their attention to the Aggie Invitational in Bryan, Texas, where they will most likely face their toughest field all year. Thus far this season, Whitten believes that Michigan has not arrived at its full potential. But the next tournament could offer the chance to change that narrative.
“We know we have a good team and we haven’t put it on the scoreboard as many times as we wanted to this year,” Whitten said. “So this would be a great opportunity to go show some people that we can post the scores that we know we’re capable of.”
The Wolverines will need to start off future tournaments as well as they did in the final round on Sunday to reach the top of the leaderboard.