For the past two weeks, the Michigan men’s golf team was largely a one-man team. Junior Tim Schaetzel carried the Wolverines with top-10 individual finishes in the last two meets. But minimal help from his teammates led to a couple of very poor showings for Michigan. That changed this week.
Yesterday, the Wolverines took fourth out of 15 teams at the 49er Classic in Concord, N.C., heeding the words of Coach Andrew Sapp to provide some support for Schaetzel.
“I just challenged the guys to step it up since it had been a one-man show the last few weeks, and Tim needed some help,” Sapp said. “We had four good scores in the second round, and the team answered the call better this week than they had in a long time.”
Senior Kevin Dore and sophomores Bill Rankin and Nick Pumford all placed in the top 30 as Schaetzel continued his strong play. A 2-under par second round (70) pushed him into a tie for first place, but he dropped into a tie for 12th after a final round 84.
Sapp credited better tee shots as the biggest factor in the team’s improvement. Recently, Michigan has struggled in that department.
“What stood out the most this week was that we were driving the ball a lot better and staying out of trouble,” Sapp said. “Keeping the ball in play cutdown on our double and triple bogeys. Our good tee shots led to par and even birdie opportunities.”
The Wolverines also had to deal with some bad weather on Monday and Tuesday, including high winds and a frost delay during the final round. Perhaps because of their experience with the recent cold weather in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines fought through it.
Although the fourth-place finish is a step forward for Michigan, there is still room for improvement. The team dropped to fourth after being tied for second after the second round, showing that it must learn how to play with a lead.
“I saw a lot of good things and bad things,” Sapp said. “Our finish here shows that we can compete. This should help us in the fall in our next tournament and even into the spring.”
The Wolverines will look to continue improving at the Aloha Purdue Collegiate Invitational in Hawaii on Nov. 22.