Three months after its last competitive match, the Michigan men’s golf team returned to the course this weekend. And after the hiatus, the rust showed.
The Wolverines finished 3rd in the Island Resort Intercollegiate, their first tournament of the season. With a final score of 880, course management and a poor short game ultimately led Michigan to an underwhelming final placement, losing to Michigan State and Central Florida.
The Wolverines opened the tournament scoring a group 290, led by a career-best 69 from sophomore Will Anderson. Senior Patrick Sullivan finished his first round with an even 72 par and matched it in the second round. Michigan collectively recorded a 285 in round two, led by junior Pier Francesco De Col and Sullivan’s 72. De Col ended the day with a team-best 143.
With a few individual standouts, Michigan showed the potential to challenge for a top-two finish the next day. What came next surprised the Wolverines.
“The first day was fairly windy,” Michigan coach Zach Barlow said. “I thought we did pretty well. Monday was much cooler and the course was set up much longer. From day one to day two, there was quite a difference in the course length and that caught us off guard.”
Michigan entered day two with Anderson dominating once again. Tallying a 74, his score proved to be the Wolverines’ best. De Col and Sullivan followed his lead, both scoring a 78 and ending with a 221 and 222, respectively. In the final round of the tournament, freshman Yuqi Liu recorded a 71, ultimately making up for the team’s errors throughout the match.
“(Liu) is just getting his feet wet in the collegiate scene,” Barlow said. “He’ll play a big part moving forward.”
The new recruits continued to show their value as freshman Hunter Thomson ended the weekend in 39th place, scoring a 69 in the second round and ending the tournament with a total of 228. A highly-rated player, Thomson showed why his future is bright in Ann Arbor.
“Sky’s the limit for (Thomson),” Barlow said. “It’s different when there’s added pressure playing as a team. There’s a lot of pressure but his second round held us together. Showing the team and bouncing back is a big deal.”
Michigan now has a three-week break before heading to Yale for the Macdonald Cup. The Wolverines will have time to work on reading course conditions, adjusting to weather and executing close to the pin.
“This was a step forward in that we got in that final group,” Barlow said. “It’s a big deal. What we learned today we will use later on in the year … The more time we’re in that situation, the better we’ll be.”