Despite weather delays and flooded greens, the Michigan men’s golf team opened the three-day Big Ten Championships over the weekend with strong rounds from senior Nick Carlson (71) and sophomore Charlie Pilon (72).
“It was nice to see good opening rounds from Nick and Charlie today,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten on Friday. “The course played difficult and that showed in the scores for the entire field. Our other three guys had opportunities for sure and will be ready to play very well tomorrow to move us back into position.”
The Wolverines posted a 299 first-round team total and positioned themselves 12th after the first day of the Big Ten Championships.
After a second day of impressive play from Carlson, Pilon and sophomore Henry Spring, Michigan posted a 296 second-round team total to vault ahead eight positions into a tie for fourth place with a 595 36-hole. The Wolverines were the only team to crack the 300 mark with a 296 — the best of the day by seven strokes.
“The guys probably had their best round of the year today, and it came at a great time,” Whitten said. “I think the pressure was off because we were out of position from the first day and the guys played loose. The wind was blowing so hard that some balls didn’t want to stay on the greens. We just accepted it was going to be a total grind and showed a lot of grit.”
Michigan combined a second straight 72 from Pilon, a 73 from Spring and a 74 from Carlson to finish below the 300 mark and tie with Michigan State (291-304) in the fourth position.
“Charlie has been incredibly steady, and Nick has found a few good feelings with his game that have his confidence going,” Whitten said after play on Saturday. “Henry was really clutch with a few late birdies on hard holes today, too. We’ll play free with nothing to lose tomorrow. It will be fun to see what we can do.”
Led by Pilon’s third-place individual finish, the Wolverines used an 885 team tally to conclude the competition with a fourth place finish Sunday.
“We needed a fantastic round today to challenge for the win and couldn’t come up with enough,” Whitten said. “The fact that these guys were in contention in the final round is a big deal. They’ll use that experience in the future for sure.
“Charlie was just great this week. His consistency and even temper paced us the whole way. Henry also gave us some great rounds and is trending the right way. Nick was fighting through injury and didn’t have his best swing but willed his way to finish high in the field. He made a huge mark on this team and likely ended on a high note. I’m very proud of him.”