The Michigan men’s golf team is looking to defrost its
clubs this weekend when the Wolverines head to Tempe, Ariz., for
their meet against Purdue and Arizona State. Coach Andrew Sapp is
confident in his team’s ability to play well despite the
climate change.

“We’ve been practicing at Miles of Golf, hitting in
the heated driving range, and we’ve been able to get some
wedge work done despite the weather,” Sapp said.

Six members of the team will play in the desert this weekend:
senior Dave Nichols, sophomores Brandon Duff and Christian Vozza,
and freshmen Matt McLaughlin, Will Kendall and Kevin Dore. The team
hopes to conquer a tract of land Nichols is very familiar with,
Arizona State’s Karsten Course.

“The course we’re playing at is the course I worked
at all summer,” Nichols said. “I’ve played there
like 50 times.”

Nichols is a native of Rochester, but his parents retired to
Mesa, Ariz., two summers ago. Nichols’ knowledge of the
course layout could prove vital in Michigan’s
performance.

“I know where you can hit it and where you
can’t,” Nichols said. “That’s definitely
something I will share (with the rest of the team) once we get
there.”

Sapp believes Nichols, a four-year varsity player, will be a
strong leader for the team this year.

“He played in all four tournaments last fall,” Sapp
said. “So we’re hoping he can step up in the spring and
help shape our younger players as well.”

Nichols said the success of the team will be determined by the
development of the younger players.

“Giving the younger players some of my experience and
wisdom is one of two things I’d like to do before I’m
done playing,” Nichols said.

He also expressed his desire to do anything he possibly can to
help the team win.

Arizona State is the favorite this weekend, as it has been
playing year-round golf in warm weather. But, according to Sapp,
Purdue can be beaten.

“Obviously when you’re playing a team like Arizona
State this early in the season, it’s difficult to say
we’d be able to compete with them,” Sapp said
“But we think we can compete well against Purdue —
that’s our main goal.”

This weekend’s match marks the beginning of the golf
team’s spring season. In the next four months, the Wolverines
will travel to many locations including Puerto Rico over spring
break. But the team ultimately will return to Ann Arbor for the Big
Ten Tournament in May.

“This weekend’s match is kind of a preseason warm-up
for the rest of the season,” Sapp said. “We’ll
learn a lot this weekend and are looking forward to Puerto Rico
over the break, where we’ll be playing some of the top teams
in the nation.”

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