Oct. 30, 2012
Site: Pebble Beach, Calif.
Course: Cypress Point Club (par 72, 6,524 yards)
Tournament: Stanford Classic at Cypress Point (Day 2)
Score: #4 Washington 14.5, Michigan 9.5 (singles)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., Feb. 8-9 -- at Big Ten Match Play Championship (Bradenton, Fla.)
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Strong performances from its two seniors were not enough to carry the University of Michigan men's golf team to victory Tuesday (Oct. 30), as the eighth-seeded Wolverines dropped a 14.5-9.5 decision to No. 2 seed Washington in the final round of the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point.
Senior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) swept all four points in his match against Trevor Simsby, who is listed 11th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin individual college ratings, while fellow senior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) earned 3.5 points and sophomore Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) added two points.
Played at the famed Cypress Point Club, the unique tournament consisted of an eight-team bracket with a different match-play format in each of the three rounds. The final round was contested as six singles matches, with each worth four points (one for the first nine, one for the second nine, and two for the overall match).
Starting off the 10th tee, Alessi birdied his opening hole and won the 11th and 14th holes with pars to go three up after five en route to a 2-up win on the first nine. He birdied No. 1 and parred No. 2 to grab the early edge on the second nine, then took advantage of the back-to-back par-5 fifth and sixth holes to close out his match, 5 and 3. Alessi eagled No. 5 after hitting a 4-iron to three feet, birdied No. 6, and eventually won the second nine, 2 up.
Echavarria jumped out to an even quicker start against his opponent, Tyler Salsbury, birdieing No. 10 and winning holes 11, 13 and 14 with pars to go four up after five holes. He coasted to a 3-and-2 win on the first nine. On the second nine, Echavarria won the first two holes with pars, lost No. 4 to a birdie, then closed out his match, 5 and 4, with an eagle 3 on the fifth hole after knocking a hybrid to eight feet. His opponent squared the second-nine match with wins on Nos. 7 and 8, and they both parred No. 9 to halve the side and earn a half point apiece.
Hyun halved his overall match with Larry Iverson III, taking the front nine, 2 and 1, but losing the second nine by the same score. After winning the opening hole, Hyun lost the next two to fall 1 down, but he won the next three holes, including back-to-back birdie 3s on Nos. 13 and 14, and held on for the point. Hughes won the sixth, eighth and ninth holes to take the second nine and square the overall match, as each player received two points.
In a pivotal match, freshman Andrew Yeager (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central HS) played a close match with Gerrit Chambers but lost each side by a hole and the overall match, 2 and 1. Yeager, who was in the Wolverines' lineup for the first time, won the opening 10th hole but lost 11, 14 and 15 to fall two down. He got one back with a solid 5-wood on Cypress Point's signature hole, the 233-yard 16th over the Pacific Ocean, but the players halved Nos. 8 and 9. Yeager won No. 1 to square the match, but Chambers took Nos. 6 and 7 to secure all four points.
Freshman Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School), who teamed with Hyun to win three points against Georgia in Monday's afternoon match, appeared to be in good position to earn another point on the first nine against Washington, leading 2 up through five holes after winning Nos. 10 and 12. However, Washington's Charlie Hughes won Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to steal that point, then kept the momentum with wins on five of the first six holes on the second nine to close out the match.
Playing in the No. 1 position, freshman Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) won his opening hole with a birdie but bogeyed six straight holes for an insurmountable deficit against Washington's Chris Wiliams, the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Williams was one under par through 16 holes to sweep all four points.
The Cypress Point tournament concludes Michigan's fall season. The Wolverines will return to competition in Feb. 8-9 with another match play event, the fifth annual Big Ten Match Play Championship in Bradenton, Fla.
Washington 14.5, Michigan 9.5 (Singles)
No. 1 -- Chris Williams (UW) 4, Chris O'Neill (U-M) 0
No. 2 -- Matt Alessi (U-M) 4, Trevor Simsby (UW) 0
No. 3 -- Charlie Hughes (UW) 4, Brett McIntosh (U-M) 0
No. 4 -- Noori Hyun (U-M) 2, Larry Iverson III (UW) 2
No. 5 -- Miguel Echavarria (U-M) 3.5, Tyler Salsbury (UW) 0
No. 6 -- Gerrit Chambers (UW) 4, Andrew Yeager (U-M) 0
Championship Match -- UCLA 18, Duke 6
Third Place -- Texas 15.5, Stanford 8.5
Fifth Place -- Southern Cal 12.5, Georgia 11.5
Seventh Place -- Washington 14.5, Michigan 9.5
N O T E S
Michigan won the opening hole against Washington in all six matches.
Miguel Echavarria's 5-and-4 win gives him a 3-0 singles record in college match play events. He was 2-0 at the Big Ten Match Play Championship last season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Chris Whitten
On the match against Washington ... "We got off to a much better start today, and that was a good feeling. We were in all the matches from the beginning, and guys could play looser that way."
On the play of seniors Matt Alessi and Miguel Echavarria ... "Matt was really impressive this week. He was in control of his shots and took a nice step forward with his game. This was the best I've seen him putt this fall. Miguel was solid today. He put pressure on his opponent with his ball-striking and consistency."
On the Stanford Classic ... "Overall it was disappointing not to win one of the three matches, but this was a special way to end our fall season. Some of the guys will leave here feeling good about where their games are, and the guys who could have played better will use this as motivation for the offseason. We got to see Jordan Spieth (Texas) and Chris Williams (Washington), two of the top amateurs in the country. You can't really measure experience like that when you can compete head to head against quality opponents, especially for a young team."
U-M Senior Matt Alessi
On his match against Trevor Simsby ... "The pins were tough, in tricky spots, so I wanted to stay in position, stay on the right side of the hole. I played consistently, got up and down, and made a few putts."
On the experience of playing Cypress Point ... "It was unbelievable, the perfect way to move into the offseason. We played three of the best teams in the nation and got to see what we need to work on. We know we're not that far off. This was really encouraging. It will definitely make us work hard in the offseason so we can play better in the spring."
U-M Senior Miguel Echavarria
On his approach today ... "I was four up through five holes and won three of those with pars. The pins were in some tough spots, and it was a situation that the smarter you were the better you'd play. I tried to keep it in play, stay in position, and putt uphill. It worked out and was good."
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423