So far this season, the Michigan men”s golf team has been in the middle of the pack. Most of the tournaments it has participated in have resulted in one school clearly playing better than the competition.
But the Wolverines” chances to leave the Duke Golf Classic with a victory were not dashed by Virginia Tech which leads the field after yesterday”s play but by bad weather.
The Wolverines scored 306 in the first round of play, which was good enough for 10th out of 18 teams. Michigan finished 13 strokes behind the Hokies (5 over par) for the lead, but only eight behind second place Tulsa.
The four Michigan scores that counted were sophomore David Nichol”s 73, senior Andrew Chapman”s 77 and 78s from senior Andy Matthews and junior Scott Carlton.
Originally, two rounds were scheduled yesterday, but weather conditions halted the second round just as they began the back nine holes.
Michigan coach Jim Carras feels there are several reasons for the Wolverines” inflated numbers.
“This is a difficult golf course without adverse weather conditions,” Carras said, adding that the course hosted last season”s NCAA Tournament.
Adding to the difficulty of the course, the heavy wind and rain created higher scores for the entire field.
“You couldn”t see 50 yards in front of you,” Carras said.
In a game with a ball as light as a golf ball, even slightly adverse conditions have a major impact on the game. Eventually, tournament officials decided to end the day”s second round prematurely.
Normally, a rain delay would not ruin the Wolverines” chances to win the tournament. But instead of throwing out the second round of play and proceeding with the third, the leftover holes will be played this morning at 9 a.m. which will push back the final round. Carras can only recall one other incident in his 20 years as Michigan coach when the second round was finished instead of being discontinued after bad weather 20 years ago at a tournament in South Carolina.
Aside from its irregular nature, the delay tomorrow has caused the team to forgo the final round in order to make its 4 p.m. return flight. There are no later flights to the Detroit Metro Airport that the team could catch, and four of the five team members have class on Tuesday.
“We”re not in contention to win it,” Carras said. “This is the strongest field of the year.”