Week #6: Michigan to Open Spring with Big Ten Match Play
Matt Thompson

Feb. 6, 2012

Season Preview

Fri-Sat., Feb. 10-11 -- at Big Ten Match Play Championship (Bradenton, Fla.)
Live Results | Bracket

Next on the Tee
The University of Michigan men's golf team returns to action after the winter break and will head to Bradenton, Fla., Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11) for the 2012 Big Ten Match Play Championship. This year the conference match play event will be played at the Concession Golf Club and feature an expanded field with the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten. The event marks the fourth year the Big Ten will emulate the NCAA Golf Championship format against its conference foes. Each Big Ten school will have a six-member team competing in match-play.

The Match Play Field/Seedings
All 12 Big Ten schools will be participating in the 2012 Big Ten Match Play with seeding as follows: Illinois (#1), Iowa (#2), Indiana (#3), Purdue (#4), Michigan State (#5), Ohio State (#6), Northwestern (#7), Minnesota (#8), Michigan (#9), Penn State (#10), Wisconsin (#11) and Nebraska (#12).

The Match Play Schedule
Thursday, Feb. 9
Opening Ceremony and Practice Rounds

Friday, Feb. 10
U-M Match 1: vs. #8 Minnesota, 7:30 a.m. (No. 1 tee)
U-M Match 2: (win Match 1) vs. #1 Illinois, Noon (No. 1 tee)
U-M Match 2: (lose Match 1) vs. loser of #7 Northwestern/#10 Penn State, 1 p.m. (No. 10 tee)

Saturday, Feb. 11
U-M Match 3: (win Match 1, win Match 2) semifinal, 7:30 a.m. (No. 1 tee)
U-M Match 3: (win Match 1, lose Match 2) consolation, 7:30 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
U-M Match 3: (lose Match 1) vs. loser of #6 Ohio State/#11 Wisconsin, 8:30 a.m. (No. 10 tee)

U-M Match 4: (win Match 1, 2 & 3), championship, 12:30 p.m. (No. 1 tee)
U-M Match 4: (win Match 1, win Match 2, lose Match 3), third place, 1:24 p.m. (No. 1 tee)
U-M Match 4: (win Match 1, lose Match 2, win Match 3), fifth place, 12:30 p.m. (No. 10 tee)
U-M Match 4: (win Match 1, lose Match 2, lose Match 3), consolation, 1 p.m. (No. 10 tee)

The Match Play Lineup
Michigan will bring six members for the 2012 Big Ten Match Play. Playing for the Wolverines will be: senior Matt Thompson (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview HS), junior Jack Schultz (Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish Bay HS), junior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School), junior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice), freshman Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) and sophomore Matt Felsenfeld (West Bloomfield, Mich./Leadbetter Golf Academy [Fla.]).

The Match Play Records
Listed is the all-time Big Ten Match Play Records for the Wolverines -- Lion Kim (5-4), Matt Thompson (5-4), Joey Garber (3-0), Jack Schultz (3-2-1), Alexander Sitompul (3-3-3), Ross Millman (2-1), Nick Pumford (1-2), Bill Rankin (0-0-3), Alex Frankel (0-3) and Rahul Bakshi (0-6). Michigan is 5-4 all-time at the event.

Recapping the 2011 Big Ten Match Play Championship
Michigan earned a first-round bye for the third straight year at the 2011 Big Ten Match Play Championship; however, U-M closed fifth with a 2-1 record. After dropping its quarterfinal match to No. 4 Northwestern (5-1), the fifth-seeded Wolverines moved into the consolation bracket. U-M defeated No. 9 Minnesota (4-2) and followed with a win over No. 2 Iowa (3.5-2.5) to finish fifth. Joey Garber went a perfect 3-0, while Lion Kim closed 2-1. Other records during the event included: Alexander Sitompul (1-1-1), Matt Thompson (1-2), Jack Schultz (1-2) and Rahul Bakshi (0-3).

Recapping the 2010 Big Ten Match Play Championship
Michigan earned a first-round bye for the second straight year at the 2010 Big Ten Match Play Championship; however, U-M closed sixth with a 1-2 record. After dropping its opening match to No. 6 Northwestern (4-2), the third-seeded Wolverines rebounded with a down-to-the-wire 3.5-2.5 win over No. 7 Ohio State. The Wolverines closed with a 4.5-1.5 loss to No. 1 Illinois. Jack Schultz led U-M, finishing undefeated with a 2-0-1 record, while Lion Kim closed 2-1. Other records during the event included: Alexander Sitompul (1-1-1), Matt Thompson (1-2), Rahul Bakshi (0-3) and Alex Frankel (0-3).

Recapping the 2009 Big Ten Match Play Championship
After knocking off top-seeded Illinois in the semifinal, the fourth-seeded Wolverines dropped a back-and-forth championship match to second-seeded Indiana to finish as the runner-up at the inaugural 2009 Big Ten Match Play Championship at the TPC of Heron Bay in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Matt Thompson led the way for the Wolverines after winning all three of his matches. Former Wolverine Bill Rankin earned three halves in his matches, including a key comeback half point to defeat Illinois. Other records during the event included: Ross Millman (2-1), Alexander Sitompul (1-1-1), Lion Kim (1-2) and former Wolverine Nick Pumford (1-2).

A Perfect Match Play Wolverine
Three years of Big Ten Match Play, three freshman Wolverines have closed with an unblemished record. In three years of the conference event, U-M has had a freshman go undefeated in three consecutive events. Matt Thompson went 3-0 in the inaugural event in 2009, Jack Schultz went 2-0-1 in 2010 and former Wolverine Joey Garber was 3-0 in 2011. U-M is sending only one freshman to the event this year -- Noori Hyun.

What We Did This Winter ... Move!
Following the five tournament fall schedule, both Michigan men's and women's golf teams moved into its new practice facility -- the Weisfeld Family Golf Center. After starting construction last September, the $2.5 million, 10,000 gross-square-foot building was dedicated and open for both programs. The new facility, set off South Main Street on the west side of the driving range of the U-M Golf Course, provides indoor/outdoor hitting bays, chipping and putting area, a golf simulator area, meeting areas, team room, coaches offices and new locker rooms. [ Photo Tour ]

What We Did This Winter ... Sign Three Newcomers
U-M coach Chris Whitten announced in mid-November the signing of Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School), Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) and Andrew Yeager (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central HS) to National Letters of Intent for the 2012-13. [ Full Release ]

What We Did This Winter ... Honor the Veterans
In late December, Matt Thompson was invited to play in the inaugural Patriot All-America tournament in Litchfield Park, Ariz., hosted by the Golf Coaches Association of America. The event featured 84 collegiate golfers from across the nation, including 21 of the world's top 100 ranked amateurs. The event was a benefit for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which assists families of fallen soldiers. Thompson closed tied for 18th with a one-over 218 (74-73-67). [ Final Results ]

What a Closing Season ... So Far
Matt Thompson, who has twice been named the Big Ten's Golfer of the Week, finished the fall season leading Michigan in four of the five events, including three top-10 finishes and picking up his first collegiate win at the 2011 Windon Memorial Classic with a five-under 205. In his final season, he is averaging 72.00 strokes per round, which is on pace to equal his single-season personal record.

The Wolverine Surprise
After being selected to the team following his walk-on tryout in early September, all Matt Alessi did was start all five fall events, average 76.58 per round and collect one top-20 finish, tying for 17th at the Inverness Intercollegiate. Alessi is expected to start the opening Big Ten Match Play event for the Wolverines.

Regional Coming to Ann Arbor
Michigan and U-M Golf Course have been selected as one of six regional host sites for the 2012 NCAA Regional Championships. The three-day, 54-hole event will run Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19, 2012. The U-M Golf Course, which has hosted a total of 11 conference championships, last hosted an NCAA event when the women's program played host to the 2007 NCAA Central Regional. The men's program has hosted NCAA events in 1996 with the NCAA Central Regional and in 1947 when the NCAA Finals were played at the U-M Golf Course.

Regional Bids Keep Coming
Michigan has been selected to four straight NCAA regional appearances. U-M's 2010 selection marked its 34th NCAA postseason appearance and the program's sixth regional since the format changed to regional play in 1991. Overall, the Wolverines have participated in five central regionals (1997, 2000, '08, '10, '11) and one southwest regional (2009).

Michigan and the NCAA Regional
1997 -- Central (8th)
2000 -- Central (t-11th)
2008 -- Central (t-12th)
2009 -- Southwest (5th), advanced to NCAA Finals (match play semifinalist)
2010 -- Central (t-6th)
2011 -- Central (1st), advanced to NCAA Finals (tied for 10th)

Sun-Tue., Feb. 19-21 -- at Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico)
Mon-Tue., Feb. 27-28 -- at North Ranch Collegiate (West Lake Village, Calif.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423