March 18, 2012
Site: Greenville, S.C.
Course: Furman University Golf Club (par 72, 6,994 yards)
Tournament: Furman Intercollegiate
U-M Team Standing: 16th Place of 21 Teams (298-292-299/889)
Top U-M Individual: Matt Thompson, 2nd (68-67-71/206, -10)
Next Event: Sat-Sun., March 31-April 1 -- at LSU Intercollegiate (Baton Rouge, La.)
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Senior Matt Thompson (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview HS) used a 10-under 206 to close as the medalist runner-up and lead the University of Michigan men's golf team to an 889 event total and a 16th-place finish at the three-day Furman Intercollegiate, which wrapped up today (Sunday, March 18) at the Furman University Golf Club.
Using three straight sub-par rounds, Thompson held a two-shot lead after the morning's first wave of teams completed play. However, U-M had to fly back to Ann Arbor not knowing if Coastal Carolina's Sebastian Soderberg would catch Thompson to claim medalist honors.
However, Soderberg opened his final round with three straight birdies and closed with seven total to card his third straight four-under 68 and claim the individual title with a 12-under 204, as Thompson fell to second at 206 (68-67-71). Overall, it marked the third top-five finish for Thompson this season.
U-M opened the first day (Friday, March 16) with a 298 as Thompson paced play with a four-under 68, while freshman Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) came in with a two-over 72, putting the Wolverines tied for 17th. Bettering his first-round score with a five-under 67 in the second (Saturday, March 17), Thompson not only found himself atop the leaderboard but combined with junior Matt Alessi's (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) even-par 72 and junior Miguel Echavarria's (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) two-over 74 to give U-M an event-best 292 and remain 17th after 36 holes.
Playing in the morning wave in today's final round, U-M saw rain showers stall its play during the first five holes before the weather cleared up. Thompson posted his third straight sub-par round with a one-under 71, while Hyun posted his second two-over 74 and Echavarria had a three-over 75 as U-M closed with a 299 to move up one position.
Echavarria finished as the second-best Wolverine for the fifth time this season, tying for 67th at 225 (76-74-75), while Hyun was two shots behind at 227 (74-79-74), tying for 76th.
The Wolverines will close their regular season heading to Baton Rouge, La., Saturday and Sunday (March 30-April 1) for the LSU Intercollegiate at the University Club. U-M will play in LSU's 54-hole event for the second straight year after recording a fourth-place finish last year.
Final Team Standings
1. Clemson 290-276-272 = 838 (-26)
2. Virginia Tech 294-278-281 = 853
3. Wofford College 288-290-282 = 860
Coastal Carolina 293-284-283 = 860
5. Georgia 298-281-288 = 867
Troy 286-295-286 = 867
Charleston Southern 292-288-287 = 867
8. Samford 294-292-282 = 868
9. Georgia State 292-284-299 = 875
10. Purdue 294-289-294 = 877
11. Francis Marion 288-295-297 = 880
Marshall 295-291-294 = 880
13. Furman 296-290-299 = 885
14. East Tennessee State 289-299-298 = 886
15. Gardner-Webb 294-288-305 = 887
16. MICHIGAN 298-292-299 = 889
17. Presbyterian College 293-301-300 = 894
Elon 303-291-300 = 894
19. Winthrop 299-303-294 = 896
20. Western Carolina 297-292-315 = 904
21. Temple 317-307-328 = 952
1. Sebastian Soderberg, Coastal Carolina 68-68-68 = 204 (-12)
2. MATT THOMPSON, U-M 68-67-71 = 206
3. Corbin Mills, Clemson 74-69-65 = 208
4. Thomas Bradshaw, Clemson 71-69-69 = 209
Crawford Reeves, Clemson 71-69-69 = 209
6. Mark Joye, Wofford College 71-70-69 = 210
7. Jacobo Pastor, Charleston Southern 74-69-69 = 212
Nick Reach, Georgia 71-71-70 = 212
Trevor Cone, Virginia Tech 74-67-71 = 212
Blake Redmond, Virginia Tech 73-67-72 = 212
Other Michigan Individuals
T67. Miguel Echavarria 76-74-75 = 225
T76. Noori Hyun 74-79-74 = 227
T104. Matt Alessi 80-72-79 = 231
T124. Matt Felsenfeld 89-88-86 = 263
N O T E S
• Matt Thompson's 10-under 206 missed his career best by a single shot. Earlier in the fall, Thompson tied his career best with a five-under 205 (69-71-65) at the 2011 Windon Memorial Classic. He set the personal best with an eight-under 205 (69-69-67) at the 2009 Wolf Run Intercollegiate.
• Matt Thompson's 10-under 206 is the sixth-lowest 54-hole tournament total all-time at U-M. Former Wolverine Bill Rankin (2006-09) holds the U-M record at 202. Thompson, along with Lion Kim and Christian Vozza, is part of a group of three that holds the second-best all-time total at 205.
• Matt Thompson closed the event posting three straight sub-par rounds with 15 birdies and one eagle. He had at least four birdies in each of the three rounds. He played the par-5s at four under and the par-3s at three under.
• Matt Thompson posted his third top-five finish in the season's nine events. He also now has four top-10 and five top-20 finishes in his final season.
• Miguel Echavarria has finished among the top three Wolverines in an event for the eighth time in nine events. He has finished as the second-best Wolverine five times.
• Matt Thompson, Miguel Echavarria and Matt Alessi have started all nine events this season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Chris Whitten
On the tournament weekend ... "This was a new event for us, so we really didn't know what to expect from the golf course. Once we got here and played the practice round, the guys really, really liked the course a lot. It reminded us a lot of our U-M Golf Course -- kind of the South Carolina version of it. You need to be on the right part of the greens and then be able to read the greens to score well. We had been focusing on our short games and putting in practice, so this event set up great for us.
"Playing in the split waves felt like we were playing professional golf. You could have certain weather in the morning and have it totally different in the afternoon. The first two days it really didn't make a difference it was good all day. Today we had pretty heavy rain through our first five or six holes. The guys concentrated well and for the most part got off to a good start.
On Matt Thompson's near victory ... "Playing the rain for the first few holes, Matt was able to get off to a solid start. He got the most out of his round today. He hit it so good the first two days and putted great the entire weekend. He missed a few greens late but was able to make two fantastic up and downs from some tough places to really keep the round in good shape. However in the end, he fell just short, but that does not take away from how well he was playing this entire weekend. I am very proud of him."
On Matt Thompson's play this season ... "The records speak for themselves. I don't think Matt defines himself by wins and losses. He just plays and plays well. The wins are definitely nice and he deserves it. Even though it didn't work out today for him, he still continues to lead this team and really play some outstanding golf. This year, his comfort level and game management has been the key to his success. He just expects to do what he is capable of and the game he has to play. Instead of playing the so-called best shot, he plays his shot. There is a small, subtle difference between the two, but that is the big difference for good players. The other thing is he is just our leader in every way. He is really attentive to what the other guys are doing and really looks to better them and himself."
On the next event ... "One more event at a course we have played before, a course that we like against a nice field. It gives us another opportunity to get better. To me from now until our season ends the most important thing is we are working on the right things and we are making improvements. There are slightly different things for each person, but overall we all need to be better on the greens and that is something we can definitely get better at. We saw some breakthroughs this weekend. We are going in the right direction."
U-M Senior Matt Thompson
On his play this weekend ... "I put in a lot of work back in Ann Arbor before we got out here. I just wanted to try and get everything back on track as far as controlling the ball better. Luckily, Chris (Whitten) found a new putter for me to use and it actually worked. I was able to hit it well enough and get it to the green enough times that I was able to make just about everything. It was nice to see that many putts go in."
On his new putter ... "I got a STX putter that we found when we were in California. Chris (Whitten) said I can see you putting with this. So we ordered it, they shipped it out and I was able to use it just before we got out here. I like it a lot. Hopefully, it is not a one-hit wonder. It will definitely be in the bag the next time out."
On the team's play down the stretch of the regular season ... "Everyone is focusing. Everyone knows we have to play well in order to keep playing like we want to. This weekend we didn't play as well as we wanted, but people are doing the right things and it just comes down to shooting a good score when it counts. Hopefully, in about a month we will be able to put it all together."
On just missing medalist honors ..."Once you get that first one, you want to be able to get as many as you can after it. I am a little disappointed, but Sebastian (Soderberg) played well and you have to give him credit. Coming off the first two tournaments of the spring I was disappointed. I wanted to help the team out, help myself out and play as many tournaments as possible into May and June. It was a huge relief to play well and I hope it carries through as we continue."
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423