After its performance during the South Alabama Spring Classic the past two days, the Michigan men’s golf team left Mobile, Ala. quickly to get back to Ann Arbor.
So quickly, in fact, senior Brandon Duff didn’t know the team’s exact score or standing. But he didn’t need the specific numbers to realize the tournament was not a success for the Wolverines.
“We didn’t really get anything going,” Duff said. “It’s very disappointing. . We’re not on our ‘A’-game. We’re somewhere in the C-minus range. . I don’t have an answer to why we played bad.”
Michigan shot a 904, 48 strokes behind a first-place Mississippi squad, to finish 11th in the 12-team tournament. Sophomore Tim Schaetzel led Michigan with a score of 224, good enough for a tie for 29th in the individual standings.
Michigan coach Andrew Sapp expressed displeasure with his team’s inconsistency.
“It was definitely up and down,” Sapp said. “We had some great single rounds. No one has been able to put together a great three rounds. . It’s one of those things where we’re really looking for some consistency, and we’re not getting it at this time.”
Duff’s play did not aid Sapp in his search.
The senior shot a second-round 69, the lowest total for a Wolverine in the tournament, and a third-round 82, which tied an individual team-high. Combined with a first round 76, he shot 227 to finish tied for 39th.
In the middle of his third-round Duff had two bogies and a triple bogey over a four-hole span. Duff cited bad luck as an explanation for the rough stretch. A tee shot that Duff originally thought was perfect took a long bounce off of a cart path and a gust of wind carried an approach shot over the green.
“It’s just one of those things where I got a couple of bad breaks early in the round, and I lost my focus,” Duff said. “Two to three bad breaks turned into four or five shots over par.”
But to play inconsistently, good must come with the bad.
Although Duff’s second-round 69 included two eagles, he wasn’t pleased.
“It’s more exciting to play good for three rounds than have two good holes,” Duff said.
Because of the cold weather, the Wolverines have had limited practice time outdoors – unlike many of the Southern schools who finished well in the tournament. But Sapp said he doesn’t want to pin the finish on the conditions.
“That would be a nice excuse, but we’ve played a whole lot of golf this February and March,” Sapp said.
But for Duff, there hasn’t been enough early play to turn things around.
“It’s a big, big factor,” Duff said. “It’s a big thing every spring. I have yet to see us do well early in the spring.”
Michigan’s next chance to post its first strong showing of the spring comes this weekend when the Wolverines travel to Pinehurst, N.C. for the Pinehurst Intercollegiate.