Despite coming off a disappointing eleventh place finish at
Michigan State this past weekend, the Michigan men’s golf
team has high expectations as they get ready to host the Big Ten
Conference Championship this weekend.

The Wolverines will enter the tournament as the ninth-seed but
are confident that their home-course advantage will propel them to
a top finish.

“The home-course advantage in golf is unique,”
Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “In basketball or football
the home-course advantage is from the fans. But in golf, each
course is unique and playing at home means knowing that
course.”

Michigan struggled to maintain consistent scores in the cold and
rainy conditions of East Lansing, despite getting low scores from
players in a few rounds. Freshman Kevin Dore sandwiched a solid
even-par 72 in between rounds of 78 and 79. Sophomore Christian
Vozza finished the weekend with three under-par 69 to move up 14
spots and secured 12th place. Vozza believe coming home will
provide Michigan with an edge over the rest of the competition.

“We are going to be able to play the course two to three
times this week before anyone else gets to see it,” Vozza
said. “We get to see where the pins are going to be and where
to hit it on the greens. It’s going to be a huge
advantage.”

Players will have all week to improve their games and learn from
the past weekend’s experiences.

“I feel pretty good,” Dore said. This weekend I
didn’t play as good as I wanted to. I played really good in
the second round, actually, in probably the toughest conditions we
had. But I think with this whole week, being able to prepare
properly, I am pretty confident going in that I will be able to
play well and hopefully we’ll have a good team finish
too.”

Dore alluded to the second ace up Michigan’s sleeve.
Finals are already over and players can focus solely on
practice.

“Being done with school we can focus completely on
preparing for Big Tens,” Vozza said.

The Wolverines are the only squad in the Big Ten that has
already finished their coursework.

“Having exams done and just being able to relax and focus
on golf, our schedule this week is more flexible,” Dore said.
“We can come out and practice when we want. Being done with
school is a huge advantage over other schools.”

These advantages have given Michigan confidence, which has
lifted the goals and expectations of the team. Sapp is looking for
the Wolverines to finish in the top half of the field. He would be
happy with a top-finish. Vozza and the players have higher
goals.

“As a team our ultimate goal is first place,” Vozza
said. “I think if we make top three, though, we’ll be
very, very happy. A top-five finish is not going to do it for
us.”

In order for the Wolverines to achieve their goals, they must
increase their consistency and eliminate the high scores that
plagued them in East Lansing.

“Keeping the high numbers out is huge,” Vozza said.
“If you could get a couple that are four our five-under that
would be huge. But if we can be consistently around par, four or
five guys around par, that’d be great.”

In a sport that is based on individual performance, team goals
still take precedence for Michigan players.

“I’m not really worried about the individual,”
Dore said. “I just want this team to go home with some Big
Ten rings.”

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