The Michigan men’s golf team went to Raleigh, North Carolina expecting great weather and good scoring conditions at the Wolfpack Invitational.

And that’s what they got – in the practice round on Thursday.

Unfortunately for the Wolverines, when tournament play started on Friday, the conditions were far from ideal.

“The first day it was extremely windy,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “We’d gotten almost an inch of rain the night before the first round, so the ball wasn’t rolling at all, so it made a long course even longer.”

With the poor weather, the Wolverines were unable to keep up with the pace set by North Carolina, falling 29 strokes off the lead and sitting in 16th out of 18 teams. The only real positive for the Wolverines was that both sophomore Matt Thompson and junior Lion Kim stood just three strokes off the individual lead.

The three remaining Wolverine players, however, stood firmly at the bottom of the leaderboard, with freshman Jack Schultz and junior Alexander Sitompul tied at 84th and freshman Rahul Bakshi in 80th. With the course playing tough, Schultz, Sitompul and Bakshi posted first-round scores of 79, 80 and 81, driving the Wolverines out of contention.

“We’re a good enough team where we shouldn’t have three guys in the bottom 10,” Kim said.

With better weather for the final round on Saturday, Michigan improved and drew upon many positives after a tough first day. After an 18-over 36 holes, Sitompul shot a two-under 69 that included an eagle on the tough par-five first hole.

Thompson continued his strong play with an even-par round that earned him a tie for third. If not for bogies on three of the four par fives, he could have earned the individual tournament win, a strong confidence boost during a tough outing for the Wolverines.

“I’m glad to see Matt play well this week after not playing very well the last tournament,” Sapp said. “It’s good to see him getting his game back in shape near the end of the season.”

Overall though, it seemed like it was the same story for Michigan on both days of the tournament. Two players had good rounds and the other three players’ rounds hurt the Wolverines’ team score. In the final round, Kim shot three-over, Schultz posted a four-over round and Bakshi shot five-over.

“We wanted to climb up five or six spots because we felt that there were five or six teams that (we felt) we could catch with a good round,” Sapp said.

With the Big Ten Championships and NCAA regionals coming up, it will be important for the Wolverines to have every member of the team trusting each other to play good golf. Kim says a new attitude for the playoffs will help accomplish that.

“It’s game time, really,” Kim says. “We’re gonna go out there with a new mindset, with an attitude of ‘This is a new tournament’, and just not worry about where we stand and play good golf.”

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