It felt like the Michigan men’s golf team was on a rollercoaster.
The Wolverines traveled to La Quinta, Calif., on Monday and Tuesday for The Prestige golf tournament. After a discouraging start in the first round, Michigan responded with a strong showing in the second. But on Tuesday, the Wolverines struggled once again and finished a disappointing 12th place out of 16 teams.
Michigan’s first day at the tournament featured everything from eagles to quadruple bogeys. On a course that leaves little room for error, the Wolverines came out slow.
“In the first round, we weren’t able to commit to shots,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “We played a little bit tentative, and once we started making bad swings, those escalated into more bad swings.”
As a team, Michigan had nine holes with either a double bogey or worse. The blustery conditions didn’t help either, as the Wolverines tallied a team total of 310, leaving them tied for 12th after the first round. Sophomore Lion Kim was the lone bright spot, leading Michigan with a one-over 73.
“(Kim) played steady,” Sapp said. “He has definitely improved since his freshman campaign.”
Freshman Matt Thompson made his first career start for Michigan, and his inexperience showed in the first 18 holes. He shot a 10-over par 82, and it seemed highly unlikely that he would rebound and lead the Wolverines in the latter part of the day.
Battling against the odds, Thompson did just that. He fired a two-under par 70 to lead the Wolverines to a score of 292 for the middle round, which put them in sixth place going into Tuesday’s final 18.
“Matt played a great second round,” Sapp said. “We needed him to come out and shoot right around 70, and he did.”
Tuesday began with high hopes for Michigan, but those hopes quickly faded as the team was again plagued with double and triple bogeys. The Wolverines struggled to get anything going, finishing with a team total of 306. That left them with a three-day total of 908 — 47 strokes behind tournament champion Texas Christian University.
Senior captain Nick Pumford was the only Michigan player to finish under par in the final round, shooting a one-under 71. Kim led the Wolverines in total scoring in the tournament, finishing at nine-over par and tying for 25th place overall.
“We had to start over after a bad start,” Sapp said. “Our guys have been really good at doing that. They responded well and came back and played better in the second round. Hopefully, we will be able to learn from our mistakes.”