Men’s golf coach Andrew Sapp blamed the loss on the snow.
That might seem strange considering the tournament in question was in sunny Puerto Rico.
But Sapp attributed Michigan’s subpar performance at the Puerto Rico Classic to the team’s inability to truly practice during its winter break in frigid Ann Arbor.
The rust showed: The Wolverines finished 17th out of 18 teams.
Sapp said Michigan was at a disadvantage against teams like Georgia and Florida that can still practice on an outdoor course during the winter months.
“Over the winter we were able to practice a little indoors at Miles of Golf and Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, and we have an indoor putting green,” Sapp said. “But that’s not really like playing competitive golf.”
The finish was disappointing after Michigan’s improvement at the end of the fall season. The Wolverines finished a strong second at their previous tournament in Hawaii among a field that included then-No.1 Alabama and then-No. 5 Clemson.
But they faced even stiffer competition in Puerto Rico. The field featured 10 top-25 teams, including No.1 Florida, No. 2 Stanford and No. 5 Georgia, along with Big-Ten powers Minnesota and Purdue.
Sapp didn’t expect to compete with the southern teams, but he seemed disappointed that the Wolverines could not catch their Big Ten brethren.
“Our main goal is to compete well within the conference, and I would’ve liked to have seen us catch up with some of those other teams,” Sapp said.
No Michigan player finished in the top 50. The lone Michigan highlight was freshman Billy McKay’s final-round one-under par 71.
“The guys admitted to being nervous,” Sapp said. “This was our first competition in a few months, so that was to be expected.”
Still, the Wolverines tried not try to make excuses.
“We came in as prepared as we could have been,” Sapp said.