As the weather got worse, so did the play of the Michigan men’s golf team.

After a 45-minute fog delay, the Wolverines couldn’t continue their outstanding play from the day one as they finished fourth in the LSU Invitational Tournament, shooting a three-round total of 898.

Competing for the first time in a month, Michigan showed no signs of rust, as it appeared to be in position to win the tournament after the first two rounds.

Led by senior Alexander Sitompul, the Wolverines shot exceptionally well, finishing the first two rounds in first place after shooting a combined 587.

“(On Saturday) we had guys shoot under par,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “They played really well. We had a couple bad rounds yesterday, but when one guy shot a bad round, another guy shot a good round. They kind of flip-flopped.”

Sitompul, though, was superb in both rounds. He shot a combined 141 through the first day, good enough for second overall, and finished both rounds under par.

“He just played solid all around,” Sapp said. “I think this golf course is a good course for him. He can hit so far, so he can hit the ball past a lot of the trouble off the tee. It’s a matter of him hitting the ball really well and controlling the golf ball well. He just managed his game really well.”

Unfortunately for Sitompul and the rest of the Wolverines, the weather worsened on day two, creating a much tougher course. Michigan was unable to continue its excellent play, as it shot a combined 311 in the third round — 23 strokes above par — to finish the tournament in fourth place.

“Everyone just played their bad rounds (Sunday),” Sapp said.

Despite the forgettable third round, the Wolverines had an impressive overall tournament. They finished behind No. 9 LSU, Chattanooga and No. 12 Iowa.

Even with the gloomy conditions, Sitompul finished in sixth place among all individuals with an overall score of 219. Freshman Joey Garber, sophomore Jack Schultz and junior Matt Thompson also exhibited steady play as they finished with combined scores of 225, 228 and 229, respectively. Sophomore Rahul Bakshi rounded out the starting lineup, finishing with a total score of 240.

The fourth-place finish is even more impressive considering that Michigan — for the first time in 49 tournaments — was playing without its best golfer, senior Lion Kim. Kim was unable to participate with Michigan this weekend as he was in Augusta, Ga., preparing for the 2011 Masters this week.

Even though Sapp was proud of the way his players stepped up and played well in Kim’s absence, he recognized that losing his best player for the weekend was tough for everyone.

“He’s our No. 1 player,” Sapp said. “And when any team loses their No. 1 man for the weekend, they not only lose their leadership but they also lose their scoring ability. We needed a little bit of his stability today for sure.”

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