For freshman Alexander Sitompul, the adjustment to collegiate golf has been easy, but his recruitment was anything but smooth for Michigan men’s golf coach Andrew Sapp.
Sapp couldn’t directly contact Sitompul because none of his listed phone numbers worked. He eventually e-mailed Sitompul’s father, who lived in Indonesia, to let him know that he wanted his son to come to Michigan.
But it was still difficult to get Sitompul to visit Ann Arbor. He didn’t take the SAT until October of his senior year, so he wasn’t allowed to take an official visit. Instead, Sitompul had to come on an unofficial visit to Michigan with his mother. He eventually committed in November after Sapp visited him in Florida, where he went to high school after growing up in Indonesia.
Although he signed late in the year, Sitompul said it didn’t take him long to decide he wanted to be a Wolverine.
“Basically, I just came here, met the guys and coach and looked around,” Sitompul said. “It just fit right.”
Sitompul has emerged as one of Michigan’s top players this season.
He already owns the team’s lowest scoring average and finished in the top five at Michigan’s final two tournaments of the fall season, The Prestige and The Wolverine.
Still, Sitompul has made some minor tweaks to his game to fully adjust to college golf.
“The courses are not as forgiving,” Sitompul said. “I had to kind of change my style a little bit. I haven’t been playing as reckless.”
But Sapp said Sitompul’s aggressive approach has helped him succeed.
In November at The Wolverine, which was hosted by Michigan, Sitompul prepared to tee off on a long par four with a creek crossing the fairway about 310 yards out. During the first two rounds, he had laid up and then hit over the creek.
But after failing to make par using that approach, he elected to try and hit it over the creek despite Michigan coach Andrew Sapp’s advice to lay up again. Sitompul cleared the water and hit an easy wedge onto the green while the rest of the team laid up.
“He’s got a lot of talent,” Sapp said. “Sometimes it’s just best for him to unleash it. When he doesn’t play well is when he’s fearful and doesn’t really go after things.”
Despite his risk-taking mentality, Sitompul isn’t reckless on the course. Sapp described Sitompul as a smart golfer who only takes calculated risks. He couldn’t recall any instances where Sitompul’s approach hurt his score in a tournament.
“That’s a credit to his ability,” Sapp said. “I honestly don’t know that (Sitompul’s style) will hurt him in the future, either.”