Despite a slow start, the Michigan men’s golf team finished strong in the 15-team Gator Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.
Senior Nick Carlson and fifth-year senior Ian Martin carried the Wolverines with sub-par final rounds of 68, -2 and 69, -1, respectively, and helped them tally an even-par 280 final round Sunday. This allowed Michigan to move up three positions and secure 11th place with an 54-hole total of 868.
But after Saturday’s opening round, the Wolverines sat tied in 14th place out of the 15-team field. They opened the tournament with team tallies of 297 and 291 after 36 holes amounting to a 588 total out of a 560 par.
“We overall weren’t sharp,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten. “We dug ourselves into a hole.”
Carlson’s and Martin’s sub-par final-round tallies coupled with a 71 from sophomore Charlie Pilon and a third-straight 72 from junior Brent Ito helped the Wolverines drop 11 shots to close with an even-par 280 and jump three positions to 11th at 868. Michigan barely missed the top 10 by five shots.
“The guys definitely made a nice comeback today and that seems to be a pattern for us,” Whitten said. “The guys got better as we went.
“Stroke play is definitely different, and we made a few mistakes that turned out to be big mistakes, but the guys were determined to correct it all today in the final round and for the most part did. The field here this week was very good and I think today’s round shows the guys that they are capable of competing when they play the way they are capable.”
Individually, Carlson’s team-best sixth under-par round of the season allowed him to jump 19 positions to tie for 34th at 216 (74-74-68). Ito closed the tournament by posting three straight rounds of 72. Pilon was third among Wolverines, tying for 45th after descending in all three of his round to close at 219 (76-72-71). Finally, freshman Ben Dunne smashed his career-best total by 20 strokes after his 223 (75-73-75) tied him for 63rd.
Michigan rebounded to a respectable finish following a rocky start on the first day.