April 29, 2012
Site: French Lick, Ind.
Course: Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort (par 72, 7,152 yards)
Tournament: Big Ten Championships
U-M Team Standing: 10th Place of 12 Teams (312-309-306-314/1241)
Top U-M Individual: Matt Thompson, 3rd (74-73-70-72/289)
Next U-M Event: Thu-Sat., May 17-19 -- host NCAA Regional (U-M Golf Course)
FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- With a final-round, even-par 72, senior Matt Thompson (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview HS) finished third individually with a 289 total at the Big Ten Championships as the University of Michigan men's golf team posted a 1,241 72-hole team total to close 10th at the French Lick Resort's Pete Dye Course. The Wolverines posted rounds of 312, 309, 306 and 314 over the three-day event.
For the second time in his career Thompson posted a top-three finish at the conference championship, following his runner-up finish in 2010. Starting all four rounds off the 10th tee, Thompson used that to his advantage as he played the back nine seven under par over four rounds, posting eight birdies and one bogey. However, he was eight over on the front nine but nearly closed at even par as he tallied a one-over 289 (74-73-70-72) championship total. Illinois' Luke Guthrie (72-71-67-73/283) held off the final-round surges from Thompson and Northwestern's Sam Chien (72-73-73-69/287) to claim the individual title.
Junior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) was the second-best finishing Wolverine as he tied for 33rd with a 309 tally in his first Big Ten Tournament. After opening rounds of 78 and 79 on Friday (April 27) and posting a 77 on Saturday (April 28), he remained in contention for a top-40 finish. Closing with a three-over 75 today, he cracked the top 35 and tied for 33rd at 309.
Other Michigan finishes included freshman Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) closing 55th (at 324 (84-79-76-85); freshman Andrew Wong (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Pompano Beach HS) closing 56th at 325 (81-78-83-83); and junior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) closing 59th at 335 (79-88-84-84).
With the conference tournament completed, the Wolverines will turn their attention to hosting the NCAA Regional Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19, at the U-M Golf Course. Michigan will find out if the program received a team or individual bid on Monday (May 7) at the 9 p.m. selection show webcast on NCAA.com.
Final Team Standings
1. Illinois 301-291-292-291 = 1175
2. Indiana 293-304-294-287 = 1178
3. Northwestern 311-296-288-291 = 1186
4. Michigan State 292-303-296-301 = 1192
5. Purdue 306-297-308-291 = 1202
6. Iowa 305-309-287-302 = 1203
7. Minnesota 308-297-312-298 = 1215
8. Penn State 308-301-299-308 = 1216
9. Ohio State 299-316-304-301 = 1220
10. MICHIGAN 312-309-306-314 = 1241
11. Wisconsin 317-326-300-306 = 1249
12. Nebraska 308-313-313-317 = 1251
1. Luke Guthrie, Illinois 72-71-67-73 = 283 (-5)
2. Sam Chien, Northwestern 72-73-73-69 = 287
3. MATT THOMPSON, U-M 74-73-70-72 = 289
4. David Mills, Indiana 76-73-72-71 = 292
5. Dan Ellis, Michigan State 74-73-71-75 = 293
Thomas Pieters, Illinois 74-74-74-71 = 293
7. Erik Van Rooyen, Minnesota 75-73-74-72 = 294
8. Adam Schenk, Purdue 75-71-75-75 = 296
Chase Wright, Indiana 72-74-75-75 = 296
10. Chris Brant, Iowa 78-75-74-70 = 297
Eric Chun, Northwestern 78-77-71-71 = 297
Other Michigan Individuals
T33. Miguel Echavarria 78-79-77-75 = 309
55. Noori Hyun 84-79-76-85 = 324
56. Andrew Wong 81-78-83-83 = 325
59. Matt Alessi 79-88-84-84 = 335
Previous Results: Day 2 | Day 1
N O T E S
Matt Thompson posted his second top-three finish of his career at the Big Ten Championships. He was the runner-up in 2010 and third this year. He tied for 13th last year (2011) and opened his career was a 42nd-place finish in 2009.
Following the Big Ten Championship, Matt Thompson is carrying a 72.18 per-round average, which is just below his school record of 72.00 set during the 2009-10 season. Overall, his career 72.84 single-round average is still the best all-time at U-M.
Matt Thompson finished as the top Wolverine in eight of the 11 events this season. He had four top-five, five top-10 and six top-20 finishes on the season.
Matt Thompson played the back nine of the Pete Dye Course at seven under par for the week, recording eight birdies and one bogey. Conversely, he played the front nine eight over par (four birdies, nine bogeys and one triple bogey).
Miguel Echavarria, Noori Hyun, Andrew Wong and Matt Alessi competed in their first Big Ten Championships.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Chris Whitten
On Matt Thompson's play ... "Matt was really solid again. There was a pretty good gap for him to make up at the start of the day and this golf course does not really allow for someone to go out there and tear it up. They set it up tough enough as it is and the penalties are big enough if you miss. So, I thought he really played smart and played against the course, which is what he was supposed to do. He just played so well throughout the week and he gave himself a chance. He just played mature and smart golf, never getting too high or too low. We would have loved to see him come away with the title, but he has had a really nice run at this tournament and that is something to be proud of."
On the team's performance ... "Having four new faces in the lineup for their first ever Big Ten Championship was going to make it tough not to think of this as a learning experience. Matt (Thompson) obviously used his experience to play well and I thought Miguel (Echavarria) did some good things and really came back in the final round after finding out some things practicing yesterday. The other guys have some new experience to be able to build upon. I know that they were not happy with their performances and that our performance was nowhere near our expectation level. However, it is a process. We learned some things this week that we can use this summer and use to get better. I think the guys are as motivated as they can be to get better."
U-M Senior Matt Thompson
On his play during the Big Ten Championships ... "I got off to a good start to every round (starting on the back nine). I played the back side really well all week and actually just grinded the front nine. I could have shot a couple of the rounds better early, but I was able to come back in the third round and give myself a chance. Unfortunately, Luke (Guthrie) played so well in that third round. I mean after he triple bogeyed one of his first holes, he then had eight birdies. That is just crazy. So, he distanced himself and earned the title. I had a few good chances today, but I wasn't able to get it going as well as I wanted."
On if he is disappointed in not winning ... "It is a little disappointing not to win, but I gave myself a chance. I was right in there from the start and especially after the third round. I definitely would have liked to have a few shots back, but I cannot be too disappointed with third place."
On the thought of the team's performance ... "Throughout the entire season a lot of what we had to do was get the experience for the younger players. This weekend was no exception. We are a work in progress and really young. That is why they give you four years. These guys will need to continue working as hard as they can to get better and really get back to where they want to be. Chris (Whitten) and Nick (Pumford) are doing a really good job and it shouldn't be too much longer before they get Michigan back in the thick of things."
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423