Despite losing its exhibition match to Michigan State Saturday, the Michigan men’s golf team came back from Arizona feeling confident because of a little extra practice.
The Spartans beat the Wolverines by 12 strokes, led by freshman Jack Newman, who posted a 3-under par 69. Michigan’s athletic department had not released the Wolverines’ scores as of press time.
Before the match, Michigan coach Andrew Sapp and Michigan State coach Mark Hankins agreed to change the format from match play to stroke play to better simulate tournament conditions.
Sapp saw both positives and negatives during the match.
“Our ball striking was good,” Sapp said. “We missed a lot of putts we shouldn’t have. The greens we played on were fairly quick. In Puerto Rico, the greens were much slower than they were here.”
The Wolverines used their trip to Scottsdale to work on facets of their game they can’t in Ann Arbor. The informal exhibition format allowed them ample time to do so.
Michigan arrived Thursday night and practiced all day Friday. Sapp thinks the extra work will help the team at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate next weekend.
“(Sunday) we spent three hours working on our short game, which we really lack the ability to do back home,” Sapp said. “In preparation for Pinehurst, it’s really good to get out here and get some work in around the greens.”
Sapp also felt the course provided a good opportunity for the Wolverines to work on their tee shots.
“If you didn’t hit the ball straight, you ended up in the desert, so it was very difficult,” Sapp said. “If you can pinpoint your tee shots on a course like this at Pinehurst, you won’t be penalized as much.”
The extra preparation will help Michigan as it gets ready for next week’s Pinehurst Intercollegiate. The tournament features No. 32 Wisconsin and No. 33 Southern Methodist University as the highest-ranked participants.
The tournament will take place place March 18-20.