Things were not going so well for the Michigan men’s golf team on Friday night. Just hours removed from shooting a team total of 302 – 18 shots over par, including an eight-over par 79 from the team’s No. 1 player Andrew Chapman – Michigan found itself sitting in 11th place out of 20 teams at the Johnny Owens Invitational in Lexington, Ky.
But like the Wolverines have done so many times before, they regrouped after their rough first day to fire consecutive rounds of 285 and 292 to slide into a sixth-place finish yesterday at the University Club of Kentucky Golf Course.
Michigan’s overall score of 879 was 22 shots behind tournament winner Purdue, but just seven shots out of a fourth-place tie.
The Wolverines’ Andy Matthews shot rounds of 74-70-70 to finish tied for seventh individually, and Chapman came back to shoot a career-best 67 Saturday and 71 in yesterday’s round to finish 16th overall.
“We started off real badly,” Michigan coach Jim Carras said. “But I can’t say enough about how they came back. When I saw Chapman’s 67, the first thing I did was kiss him on the forehead.”
“I was just happy to get a good score up on the board,” Chapman said. “I had a real shaky first round so it was just good to help the team out.”
Carras said that the team’s poor start was probably because the Wolverines had not been able to practice for two weeks before the tournament due to the bad weather in Michigan.
Matthews and Chapman were followed by David Nichols (74-74-75-223) and Scott Carlton (75-74-76-225).
“I was really pleased with the play of David and Scott,” Carras said. “With these guys all playing well, I really believe we are on the upswing.”
The tournament was marred by weather problems. It was scheduled for 36 holes on Friday, followed by 18 on Saturday. After playing 24 holes on Friday, a thunderstorm hit the area and delayed the completion of the second round. Because of the delay, Michigan had to get up at 4:15 a.m. on Saturday to complete the second round before playing the final round later that day.
“You never get used to being on a golf course for 12 hours,” Chapman said. “It was tough.”
Michigan heads to Huntington, W.Va., next Friday to compete in the Marshall Invitational at the Guyan Country Club.
“I think we are going to do real well next week because there is only a week in between tournaments this time, and we are still fresh from playing,” Chapman said. “Even if the weather is bad, we won’t have to sit around for two weeks like we just did, and then go to a tournament without any practice.”