After winning its first tournament in two years last Saturday, the Michigan men’s golf team felt confident. And two days after the big win, the Wolverines hit the links again at the two-day Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio.
But after a poor first round on Monday, Michigan couldn’t build on Saturday’s big win as it placed 15th in the 16-team field.
Michigan finished with a team score of 909, one stroke out of 14th place and 47 strokes behind tournament champion Florida State. Junior Bill Rankin was the top Wolverine, tying for 36th place a three-round total score of 225, 12 strokes over par. Rankin has led the team in both tournaments this season. Senior co-captain Tim Schaetzel finished 50th (227).
Senior co-captain Brian Ottenweller and freshman Lion Kim tied for 57th (229).
Despite playing in its second tournament in four days, the team still felt mentally and physically prepared for competition.
“We came in with a bunch of confidence and (were) hoping to carry that over into this tournament,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “Our players are used to playing multiple days in tournaments. Mentally, when you’re playing well, you want to keep playing, but we just did not play well.”
Michigan teed off against a difficult field that included No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 University of Nevada- Las Vegas and No. 9 Florida. After a disappointing first round score of 307, the Wolverines made a ten-stroke improvement in the second round before finishing with a third-round 305.
“We hung in there on the tough holes, but we’re really disappointed (with the tournament) because we had a chance to play some perennial powers,” Sapp said. “Inverness is a difficult golf course that can really beat you up if you don’t bring your A-game.”
Inverness has hosted four U.S. Open Championships and two PGA championships since it opened in 1903.
The Wolverines will have time to improve before their next tournament, the Wolf Run Intercollegiate on Sept. 22. Sapp said his squad will learn from the mistakes made over the past four days.
“We need to look at every player’s performance,” he said, “each individual component, like missing putts or poor tee shots, needs individual attention. We’re going to have to practice a lot.”