Throughout its fall season, the Michigan men’s golf team showed plenty of promise. But the Wolverines struggled to close out tournaments.
After beginning the season with a win at the Purdue Midwest Shootout, Michigan enjoyed two more top-five finishes, but no titles.
Yesterday, the Wolverines finally got the breakthrough win they’d been looking for. Michigan finished first at The Wolverine at Mission Inn in Florida, a tournament the Wolverines hosted.
“We basically had good play throughout,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said through the athletic department. “It just really came together this weekend.”
Michigan took a lead on the first day of the tournament that it never relinquished. Senior Tim Schaetzel got off to a hot start with a 4-under par 68 in the morning of the first round. During the afternoon session, junior Bill Rankin recorded a 3-under par 69 in the second round to keep the momentum going.
The Wolverines kept up their great play in the final round yesterday, defeating runner-up Penn State by 10 strokes. Schaetzel recorded a 69, finishing in first place for the entire tournament. Freshman Alexander Sitompul stayed near par for the tournament and finished in fifth place. Rankin came in seventh, and junior Brian Ottenweller tied for 13th.
Schaetzel said a different mindset helped Michigan correct some of the problems it experienced earlier in the season.
“We just sort of said, ‘Let’s just go out there and have fun, play well and stay loose,’ ” Schaetzel said through the athletic department. “That was our game plan and we stuck with it all tournament long.”
The Wolverine at Mission Inn was Michigan’s last tournament of the fall season. Sapp noted how the strong finish should give the team momentum for the spring season.
“We are just making strides in the right direction,” Sapp said through the athletic department. “This (win) should help our ranking, which is what gets you into regionals – that’s one of our goals this season. Going into the winter, it’s always nice to finish well.”