On a warm, humid Sunday afternoon at the University of Michigan Golf Course, the Michigan men’s golf team – led by senior captain Christian Vozza – held off its competition to finish first overall in the Wolverine Intercollegiate Tournament. The five-man team of seniors Christian Vozza and Brandon Duff, sophomores Brian Ottenweller and Tim Schaetzel and freshman Bill Rankin contributed to Michigan’s first title since the 2000-01 season.

The Wolverines entered the clubhouse Saturday evening with a commanding 12-stroke lead after the first two rounds, but they were careful not come out overconfident for their final round on Sunday.

“I told the guys that we won the first round, and we won the second round, but our goal was to win the third round,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “We didn’t want to back up. Fortunately, with as well as we played Saturday, we were able to maintain our lead.”

For the first time in his college career, Vozza accepted the first place trophy as the overall individual winner. He shot an exceptional round of four-under 67 Saturday morning and followed it up with two equally impressive rounds of 69 on Saturday evening and Sunday morning for a combined total of 205 (-8). He finished one stroke ahead of Xavier’s Jason Kokrak and Iowa’s Cole Peevler.

“I knew where to hit the ball on this course, and I knew how to get up and down from some tough places, whereas a lot guys wouldn’t, coming in blind,” Vozza said.

Coach Sapp was very impressed with Vozza’s performance, but he also felt the entire team succeeded.

“It’s exciting for us to win as a team and also to have someone win, especially at home,” Sapp said. “We got so many good rounds from our players this week. It was just amazing to watch.”

Other outstanding performances at the Wolverine Intercollegiate included strong play from Schaetzel (67-70-70-207) and Ottenweller (67-67-74-208), who ended up tied for fourth and sixth respectively. Duff (76-69-75-220) and Rankin (78-72-74-224) also turned in impressive performances. Michigan won the title with a combined stroke total of 839 (277-275-287), 11 strokes ahead of both Xavier (288-283-279) and Charlotte (289-276-285).

Since they also finished third at the Hawkeye Intercollegiate two weeks ago, the Wolverines find themselves among the best in the conference. Now, coming off their first victory, the team is very optimistic about its chances this season.

“I think we can compete to win every single tournament from here on out. It all comes from within,” Vozza said.

Coach Sapp also feels good about the team’s chances, but he is careful not to jump the gun just yet.

“This is a platform for us to continue to improve, and we’ve got confidence that we can do well,” Sapp said. “But we still have a lot of season left.”

The team will now have a week to practice before heading down to the Colonial Country Club in Cordova, Tenn., next Monday for the Memphis Intercollegiate, where they hope to build on their recent success.

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