April 28, 2013
Site: French Lick, Ind.
Course: French Lick Resort, Pete Dye Course (par 72, 7,152 yards)
Tournament: Big Ten Championships
U-M Team Standing: 10th Place of 12 Teams (301-306-312-304/1223)
Top U-M Individual: Chris O'Neill, tie-13th (72-73-76-76/297)
Next U-M Event: Monday, May 6 -- NCAA Selection Show (NCAA.com), 9 p.m.
FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- Backed by top-15 individual finishes from freshmen Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) and Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School), the University of Michigan men's golf team posted a 1,223 final team total to finish 10th at the Big Ten Championships today (Sunday, April 28) at the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort.
With an even-par 72 from O'Neill and a two-over 74 from McIntosh, the Wolverines opened the 72-hole conference tournament with a 301 (Friday, April 26). In the second 18 of the 36-hole day, the duo struck again as O'Neill's one-over 73 and McIntosh's 75 led U-M to a 306 second-round total and ninth at 607. The third round saw the Wolverines slip to 12th as O'Neill and McIntosh each carded 76s, and U-M tallied a 312.
In today's final round, McIntosh led the Maize and Blue with a closing two-over 74, while O'Neill and sophomore Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) each tallied 76s. With those scores, U-M rallied from the day's previous score to net a 304 team total and close 10th with a 1,223 total.
Individually, O'Neill (72-73-76-76) led U-M from start to finish as he tied for 13th with his 297 total. He became U-M's first freshman to lead the Wolverines at the conference tournament since 2004. Classmate McIntosh (74-75-76-74) followed just two shots back as he tied for 15th with his 299, while senior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) tied for 54th at 314 (78-79-778). Rounding out the U-M conference scoring was Hyun, who was 57th at 316 (80-79-81-76), and senior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School), who was 58th at 321 (77-80-84-80).
With three individuals among the top eight, including medalist Thomas Pieters (284, -4) and co-medalist runner-up Brian Campbell (289), Illinois won its fifth straight conference title after tallying an 1,163 championship total. The Fighting Illini were nine shots better than runner-up Minnesota, which finished at 1,172. Iowa finished third at 1,186.
U-M will now wait to see if the Wolverines will have an individual invited to an NCAA Regional, which will take place Thursday through Saturday (May 16-18). There will be six different regional sites for this year's NCAA postseason -- Columbus, Ohio (OSU's Scarlet Course); Tallahassee, Fla. (Golden Eagle Country Club); Fayetteville, Ark. (The Blessings Golf Club); Baton Rouge, La. (University Club); Pullman, Wash. (Palouse Ridge Golf Club) and Tempe, Ariz. (Karsten Golf Course).
Final Team Standings
1. Illinois 291-294-285-293 = 1163 (+11) 2. Minnesota 285-302-290-295 = 1172 3. Iowa 289-300-301-296 = 1186 4. Ohio State 306-292-296-296 = 1190 Indiana 299-291-300-300 = 1190 6. Northwestern 296-305-296-303 = 1200 7. Purdue 304-294-302-303 = 1203 8. Michigan State 297-304-298-308 = 1207 9. Nebraska 311-297-301-305 = 1214 10. MICHIGAN 301-306-312-304 = 1223 11. Penn State 317-297-301-309 = 1224 12. Wisconsin 304-308-304-316 = 1232
1. Thomas Pieters, Illinois 70-70-70-74 = 284 (-4) 2. Brian Campbell, Illinois 77-70-70-72 = 289 Erik Van Rooyen, Minnesota 70-73-74-72 = 289 4. Boo Timko, Ohio State 74-70-76-71 = 291 5. Adam Schenk, Purdue 74-73-74-71 = 292 Joseph Winslow, Iowa 72-74-72-74 = 292 7. Jack Perry, Northwestern 73-73-73-75 = 294 8. Thomas Detry, Illinois 74-77-70-74 = 295 Jon DuToit, Minnesota 71-78-72-74 = 295 David Mills, Indiana 74-74-74-73 = 295 Grant Weaver, Ohio State 78-73-72-72 = 295
T13. Chris O'Neill 72-73-76-76 = 297 T15. Brett McIntosh 74-75-76-74 = 299 T54. Matt Alessi 78-79-79-78 = 314 57. Noori Hyun 80-79-81-76 = 316 58. Miguel Echavarria 77-80-84-80 = 321
N O T E S
Chris O'Neill is the first freshman to lead U-M at the Big Ten Championships since Kevin Dore (t-10th) led at the 2004 conference tournament held at the U-M Golf Course.
Chris O'Neill finished the tournament season leading U-M in five of the 12 events. With current records, he is the first freshman to lead U-M in scoring average, at 73.96 per round, which is the 14th-best season average in U-M history.
Chris O'Neill is just the third freshman to post a season average below 74 and is third on U-M's all-time freshman single-season average list. He is behind Matt Thompson (73.54, 2008-09) and Jack Schultz (73.67, 2009-10).
Matt Alessi and Miguel Echavarria closed their Michigan careers. After walking on to the team as a junior, Alessi started 23 straight events for U-M over the last two seasons. Echavarria started 26 of 32 events in his four-year career.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Chris Whitten
On the Big Ten Championships ... "I felt like the third round was the one that got away from us. We were expecting to move up and get back into the competitive part of the pack that day. The golf course just got the better of us. I was really happy to see our two freshmen have nice events in their first Big Ten experience. It is a really big and tough golf course. Chris (O'Neill) and Brett (McIntosh) really were able to get through the course well and gain some valuable experience to help them in the future. It will be sad to lose Matt (Alessi) and Miguel (Echavarria). I know they didn't really have the last tournament that they wanted. They paced the team all year with their attitude, culture and just being good leaders. They were really important members of the team and will be missed."
On the impact of freshmen ... "With Chris (O'Neill) and Brett (McIntosh), they both adjusted to college golf really quickly. They were able to compete right away. Coming back I feel those guys are going to be the leaders of the team because even though we are young they know what it takes to have success. They are both competitive guys, and they both want to see the program get better quickly. I think they are the guys to do it. Andrew (Yeager) for one really made some big improvements this year. I didn't know if he would challenge for a starting spot this year, and he ended up starting for us. The changes in his game were obvious to everyone for the better."
On early thoughts of next season ... "There will be some turnover. We lose two great leaders in Matt (Alessi) and Miguel (Echavarria), who played a lot of events. We have three guys coming in, and we expect all three to compete immediately for starting spots. Even for the players on the team that did not play this week. They really have a chance to step on the gas this summer, make some improvements and push the group. Next year our expectations will be higher than what we were able to accomplish this year."
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423