Sept. 23, 2013
Site: Lake Forest, Ill.
Course: Knollwood Club (par 72, 7,202 yards)
Tournament: Windon Memorial Classic
U-M Team Standing: 3rd Place of 16 Teams (292-290-290/872)
Top U-M Individual: Chris O'Neill, 1st (71-68-69/208/208, -8)
Next U-M Event: Sun-Tue., Oct. 6-8 -- at Erin Hills Collegiate (Erin, Wis.)
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Playing his final nine holes three under par, sophomore Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) won his first collegiate title -- by four strokes -- and guided the University of Michigan men's golf team to a 872 54-hole total and a third-place finish at Northwestern's Windon Memorial Classic today (Monday, Sept. 23) at the Knollwood Club.
After spraining his right ankle just before the practice round, O'Neill showed little effects Sunday (Sept. 22), leading U-M to a strong start, as he posted rounds of one-under 71 and four-under 68 to take the individual lead with a five-under 139 first-day tally. Sophomore Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School) followed just behind, as his three-under 69 and one-under 71 put him a shot back in second place at 140. The duo helped the Wolverines to the sixth position after 36 holes with a 582 total.
U-M's final round got off to a slow start as the Wolverines fell to as low as the eighth position, before O'Neill, McIntosh and junior Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) caught fire on the back nine, combining to go six under par. Behind a three-under 69 from O'Neill, a two-under 70 from McIntosh and a one-over 73 from Hyun in today's final round, U-M posted its second straight 290 team total and its second third-place finish in less than a week.
O'Neill used 12 birdies and an eagle to claim his first medalist honor with an eight-under 208, four shots better than runner-up Jack Perry (72-6-70/211) of host Northwestern. McIntosh made it back-to-back tournaments with a top-10 finish as he equaled his career-best finish, tying for third at two-under 212 (69-71-72).
Hyun rounded out U-M's top three as he tied for 49th at 226 (77-76-73). Other Wolverine finishes included freshman Bryce Evon (Windsor, Ontario, Canada/Vincent Massey Secondary School) tying for 49th at 229 (75-77-77) and sophomore Andrew Yeager (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central HS) tying for 66th at 230 (79-75-76).
The Wolverines next travel to Erin, Wis., Sunday through Tuesday, Oct. 6-8, for Marquette's Erin Hills Collegiate. The three-day, 54-hole event will be played at the famed Erin Hills Golf Course, which will serve as the home for the 2017 U.S. Open.
Final Team Standings
1. Northwestern 282-290-288 = 860 (-4) 2. Kent State 283-286-294 = 863 3. MICHIGAN 292-290-290 = 872 4. Ohio State 292-296-287 = 875 Purdue 293-292-290 = 875 6. Marquette 291-289-300 = 880 7. Arkansas 299-284-298 = 881 UC Davis 283-297-301 = 881 9. Iowa 293-297-295 = 885 10. North Texas 290-294-302 = 886 Coastal Carolina 289-291-306 = 886 12. Tulsa 294-301-302 = 897 13. Penn State 294-307-297 = 898 Lamar 301-297-300 = 898 15. Harvard 302-301-296 = 899 16. DePaul 302-306-307 = 915
1. CHRIS O'NEILL, U-M 71-68-69 = 208 (-8) 2. Jack Perry, Northwestern 72-69-70 = 211 3. BRETT McINTOSH, U-M 69-71-72 = 212 Matt Fitzpatrick, Northwestern 66-76-70 = 212 5. Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas 69-71-73 = 213 Kyle Kmiecik, Kent State 71-69-73 = 213 Taylor Pendrith, Kent State 70-71-72 = 213 8. Steven Ihm, Iowa 68-74-72 = 214 Henry Klongland, Marquette 78-66-70 = 214 Thomas Sorensen, Arkansas 72-69-73 = 214
T49. Noori Hyun 77-76-73 = 226 T61. Bryce Evon 75-77-77 = 229 T66. Andrew Yeager 79-75-76 = 230
N O T E S
Michigan has won three of the last four medalist honors at the Windon Memorial Classics. U-M swept the team and individual title in 2010 with an 854 team total and Lion Kim's (2008-11) six-under 207 at the North Shore Country Club. Matt Thompson (2009-12) made it back-to-back wins, claiming medalist honors in 2011, tying a tournament record with a five-under 205at the Evanston Golf Course. Now, Chris O'Neill makes it three wins in four years with his eight-under 208 at the Knollwood Country Club.
Michigan has opened the season with back-to-back third-place finishes. With Chris O'Neill's medalist honor and Brett McIntosh's third-place finish, the Wolverines have opened placing at least two individuals among the top 10 in both events.
Chris O'Neill has shot five of his six total rounds under par. He is averaging 69.00 per round and 207 per 54-hole tournament. Brett McIntosh has shot three of his six rounds under par, with the three others at exactly even par. He is averaging 70.67 per round and 212.00 per 54-holes.
Chris O'Neill and Brett McIntosh have not missed a start in their young careers, playing in 14 consecutive events. O'Neill has finished as the top Wolverine in eight of his 14 events, while McIntosh has led three times. The duo has finished 1-2 among U-M golfers at an event five times.
Brett McIntosh tied his career-best 54-hole finish with his tie for third. It equaled his tie for third he had in his first collegiate event at the 2012 Inverness Intercollegiate.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Chris Witten
On the weekend as a whole ... "Chris (O'Neill) and Brett (McIntosh) paced us and carried the team at times, especially on the 36-hole day. Then today we really got off to a rough start, I thought. We talked all week about playing the par-fives as well as we can, which I think are really the key to a good round out here, and we just weren't executing the easy shots until the guys dug down deep and found it on the back nine. It was a good feeling to finish it off well."
On Chris O'Neill's finish atop the leaderboard ... "He's got big game, he's got a lot of shots, he's not a one-dimensional player at all, so he's still got a lot of improving to do, but I was happy for him to get a win here. He deserves it. He actually played injured for most of the week, which makes it even more incredible, He had an (right) ankle injury when we first got into town and really had to fight to get through it yesterday. He's an athlete, he was really determined, and he's super mentally tough." On whether or not O'Neill has brought a sense of competition to the team ... "He's got some natural leadership abilities. He does it with his work ethic, he encourages the other guys. The scores are there for him right now."
On the rest of the team's performance ... "Noori (Hyun) had good stretches; the putting has been what he's really had to concentrate on. Even though he didn't make every putt this week, he was giving the ball chances to go in, which was really good. Then he closed out his round really well in the last six holes, so I was happy for that."
On the significance of U-M winners at this tournament of late ... "One thing that I enjoy is that Northwestern's been able to move the tournament around to different venues on the north side of Chicago, so of the three individual winners, they've all been at different courses. It's really not a local knowledge thing, but the style of courses are similar, and all the guys after the practice round were talking about how much they love this place, so it gives us a good feeling. Otherwise, I think it's a matter of having good players who play well at the right time."
U-M Sophomore Chris O'Neill
On his ankle injury ... "It was just when we were doing a warm-up thing. I was not paying attention, and I went off the curb funny, just rolled it a little. It wasn't at the course, it was at the hotel. I don't think it was that big of a deal, but it was painful. They did a good job taping it."
On the closing nine-hole stretch and how it feels to get a win ... "It feels so good, like a weight off my shoulders. I haven't won something in so long time, so it feels real good. I really didn't know what was going on, I never talk to any of the coaches about what it was individually; I was only asking them about how the team was doing, so I knew I needed to make up strokes for the team. I talked to Chris before the last hole, and he told me where everyone was at and that I was in good shape, but I really didn't know what was going on until it was over."
On how it felt to know he won ... "It felt pretty new. It's cool. I hope I can do it again. I'm really speechless because it is so awesome."
On the team's focus to finish strong ... "I'd say we owe that all to Chris (Whitten), that's been his focus with us. We didn't do a good job in the first two rounds, and I'm really proud of the guys; we did close well today. We made up some serious ground, and that's what we have to do. We're moving in the right direction. There's good things ahead for this team."
On the play of Brett McIntosh ... "I love it. It's great to have someone there pushing you all the time. He played great this week; he was swinging it great. He's a good buddy, and I'm so glad that I have two-and-a-half more years to spend with him and watch him play some great golf."
On the challenges of playing this well for so long and carrying momentum ... "I don't know. I've never been in this position, exactly, but I played well last week, so that was able to carry over, and hopefully it just keeps on going. I really turned a corner this summer and started playing some really good golf, so it's been going on for a while."
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423