U-M Places Seventh at Big Ten Match Play Championship
Chris O'Neill

Feb. 9, 2013

Site: Bradenton, Fla.
Course: The Concession Golf Club (par 72, 7,145 yards)
Tournament: Big Ten Match Play Championship (Consolation)
Scores: Northwestern 3.5, Michigan 1.5; Michigan 3.5, Purdue 1.5
Next Event: Sun-Tue., Feb. 17-19 -- at Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico)

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The University of Michigan men's golf team closed the 2013 Big Ten Match Play Championship with a seventh-place finish after earning a split on the final day of competition on Saturday (Feb. 9) at The Concession Golf Club. U-M began the day with a narrow defeat to Northwestern (3.5-1.5) before winning a tight match over Purdue (3.5-1.5).

The Wolverines were defeated by second-seeded Northwestern in today's morning session. Freshman Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) provided the Wolverines with their lone victory with a 1-up win. O'Neill never trailed in his match but never led by more than two holes. Freshman Andrew Yeager (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central HS) halved, coming back from two holes down in the final three holes.

Other consolation round matches included senior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) falling to Bennett Lavin (7-and-5), senior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) losing, 2-and-1, to Andrew Whalen, and freshman Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School) falling to Matthew Negri, 6-and-5.

In the seventh-place matchup again sixth-seeded Purdue, Michigan used three late victories to earn the win. All five matches came down to the final three holes. O'Neill earned his second win of the day, coming up with a 2-and-1 win. O'Neill did not trail for the second straight match. Echavarria was victorious for the second time in three tries this weekend, coming away with a 2-and-1 result. The senior captain did not lead until the 15th hole, when he took a lead for good.

Alessi produced U-M's third victory, winning 3-and-2. Alessi was defeated just once in four outings over the two-day tournament. Yeager halved for the second time today, taking home another half point for Michigan. Sophomore Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) was the lone defeat in the match, dropping a 3-and-1 decision to Purdue's Jakob Ziegler.

U-M opened its first spring event yesterday (Friday, Feb. 8) with a 3-2 win over Minnesota in first-round action of match play before dropping a 4-0-1 decision to Illinois to move into today's consolation bracket.

The Wolverines return to tournament action when they head to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Sunday through Tuesday, Feb. 17-19, for the 2013 Puerto Rico Classic. It marks the 11th straight season the Wolverines will compete in the three-day, 54-hole event played at Rio Mar Country Club's River Course.

Following are match-by-match results:

Consolation Semifinals -- No. 2 seed Northwestern def. No. 9 seed Michigan, 3-1-1
Saturday, Feb. 9
No. 1 -- Chris O'Neill (U-M) def. Jack Perry (NU), 1-up
No. 2 -- Bennett Lavin (NU) def. Miguel Echavarri (U-M), 7-and-5
No. 3 -- Andrew Whalen (NU) def. Matt Alessi (U-M), 5-and-4
No. 4 -- Matthew Negri (NU) def. Brett McIntosh (U-M), 6-and-5
No. 5 -- Andrew Yeager (U-M) vs. Josh Jamieson (NU), halved

Seventh-Place Match -- No. 9 seed Michigan def. No. 6 seed Purdue, 3-1-1
Saturday, Feb. 9
No. 1 -- Chris O'Neill (U-M) def. Jack Perry (PUR), 2-and-1
No. 2 -- Miguel Echavarria (U-M) def. Jonathan Dilanni (PUR), 2-and-1
No. 3 -- Matt Alessi (U-M) def. David Cooke (PUR), 3-and-2
No. 4 -- Jakob Ziegler (PUR) def. Noori Hyun (U-M), 3-and-1
No. 5 -- Andrew Yeager (U-M) vs. Ben-Marvin Egel (PUR), halved

Day 1 Results


• With a 2-2 record during the 2013 Big Ten Match Play Championships, Michigan now holds an 8-7 all-time record in the event.

• With his 2-1 record, Miguel Echavarria is now 5-3 all-time in match play, holding the best match-play record of any current U-M player.

• For the first time, Michigan did not have at least one Wolverine go undefeated in a conference match-play event. Matt Thompson was undefeated in the inaugural event in 2009 and last year in 2012, while Jack Schultz was 2-0-1 in 2010, and former Wolverine Joey Garber was 3-0 in 2011.

• Following this weekend's action, Michigan's current career match-play records are as follows -- Miguel Echavarria (5-3), Matt Alessi (4-4-1), Noori Hyun (3-5), Brett McIntosh (2-4), Chris O'Neill (2-5) and Andrew Yeager (0-4-2).


Michigan Head Coach Chris Whitten
On the weekend ... "We always like starting the spring in this tournament, with match play, because every match there is pressure. Performing with a little bit of pressure is great for the guys to get ready for the whole spring season. We came away with a 2-2 record. We lost to two very good teams and had two very nice wins, I thought. When the guys were in close matches, I thought they did a nice job performing under pressure, so I think that gives us a positive feeling going forward. "

On playing in so many close matches ... "Well, hopefully, we get into some more situations in stroke play where we have a chance to win on the last day. I think they will be able to pull up good memories from this weekend when they are in those situations. I think that will definitely help us."

On prepping for the Puerto Rico Classic ... "I think first we've got to make sure everything is set with school when we get back. Back-to-back weeks are always tricky. And then I think each one of our guys have areas of their games that need to be cleaned up. Especially for me, I think chipping and putting and shots around the green are the ones we need the most work on this time of year, so we'll focus a lot on that."

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423