The Michigan men’s golf team opened its spring season over the weekend by splitting its first two matches of the Big Ten Match Play Championship.
In the first match, the 11th-ranked Wolverines lost to No. 6 Purdue following a 3-3 tie. They lost by a single hole and dropped to the consolation bracket.
But Michigan persevered. During the second match of the day against No. 3 Iowa, wins by senior Nick Carlson and fifth-year senior Ian Martin as well as three halved-matches carried the Wolverines to a 3.5-2.5 win, snapping a five-match drought at the Big Ten Match Play.
“I know the guys were pretty gutted to lose on the tiebreak this morning,” said Michigan coach Chris Whitten. “We were in control until the last couple of holes in some of the matches, and it just did not go our way.
“It would’ve been really easy for the guys to lose focus or get down on themselves for the afternoon match, but I was very happy with how quickly they got themselves back up.”
Individually, Martin, freshman Ben Dunne and sophomore Charlie Pilon each finished the day with a win and halved match, while sophomore Henry Spring halved both of his matches on the day.
In a repeat performance of their opening day of matches, the Wolverines split their matches to finish with a 2-2 record.
At the beginning of the second day, Pilon, Martin and junior Brent Ito tied with Minnesota, 3-3, mirroring the previous day’s results against the Boilermakers. Michigan once again lost the tiebreaker. Still, the Wolverines remained undeterred defeating Penn State, 3.5-2.5, led by wins from Pilon and Martin as well as three matches halved.
“I thought this week was a good first step for the spring,” Whitten said. “We won two matches against very good teams and tied the two others, losing by tiebreakers. The guys struck the ball really well throughout the lineup yesterday in great weather and today was just a grind with winds reaching over 25 mph. They came through in a few tight matches. I was very proud of them.”