By the end of Saturday’s rounds at the Boilermaker Invitational, the Michigan men’s golf team sat in 14th place with a score of 617. But as Michigan coach Chris Whitten put it, the mindset heading into Sunday’s final round was to “leave the bad shots behind us.”
As it turned out, that would be easier said than done, as the Wolverines finished tied for 11th among a 15-team field in their season finale.
Though the Wolverines faced a tough field, including No. 11 Kent State and No. 17 UNLV, not all of them stumbled with bad shots Saturday. In fact, senior Reed Hrynewich carded a 148 (73-75) to lead the team, putting himself in a tie for 17th and creating hope for the final round. Hrynewich’s Sunday score of 74, though, wasn’t good enough to maintain his position on the leaderboard, and he dropped to a tie for 26th. Strong winds throughout the Invitational didn’t help, either.
“The weather definitely played a role,” Whitten said. “Sunday was better than Saturday, (which was) by the far the worst (weather) of the season.”
Whitten also added the team must post better scores than the ones from Saturday, regardless of the conditions.
With the weather improvement came better scores. On Sunday, Michigan shot a 291 and moved up the leaderboard by three spots. The Wolverines were powered by senior Bryce Evon, who shot a 68 — four under par — and finished tied for 63rd.
Juniors Kyle Mueller and Ian Kim, as well as sophomore Nick Carlson, also started, finishing tied for 42nd, 74th, and tied for 75th, respectively. Senior Tom Swanson played as an individual and finished tied for 51st. Michigan closed off the weekend with a total score of 908 (303-314-291) and tied for 11th with rival Michigan State. Kent State pulled away for the win, finishing with a score of 865 (285-296-284), 43 strokes better than the Wolverines.
Despite the improvement, it was not the end to the regular season Michigan had hoped for. The Wolverines had six top-three finishes, but have also had a handful of missed opportunities, leaving room for a middle ground they have struggled to find.
“(It was a) disappointing end to the season,” Whitten said.
Michigan has a lot to play for in the upcoming weeks. Its next event will be the Big Ten Championship on April 28, and the stakes will be high. Whitten knows the team will have to perform much better if it hopes to make a deep postseason run.
“(We are) trying to get our confidence back,” Whitten said. “The goal is always to win. … We want to come with no expectations and just play golf and add ‘em up at the end.”