Week #6: Spring Season to Open with Big Ten Match Play Championships

Feb. 8, 2011

THIS WEEKLive Results | 2011 Big Ten Match Play Bracket
Friday, Feb. 11 -- vs. Northwestern - Big Ten Match Play (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), 7:45 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 12 -- Two remaining matches to be determined

Next on the Tee
After nearly two months away from competition, the University of Michigan men's golf team will open up its spring season playing in the 2011 Big Ten Match Play Championship Friday and Saturday (Feb. 11-12) at PGA National's Championship Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The event marks the third 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 championship course will be set up for a par 72 and 7,048 yards.

The Match Play Field
All 11 Big Ten schools will compete in the Match Play Championship. Seeding for the event are based upon the final fall Golfstat rankings and will be as follows -- No. 1 Illinois (8), No. 2 Iowa (11), No. 3 Ohio State (23), No. 4 Northwestern (28), No. 5 Michigan (31), No. 6 Purdue (32), No. 7 Indiana (33), No. 8 Penn State (69), No. 9 Minnesota (83), No. 10 Wisconsin (170) and No. 11 Michigan State (198).

The Match Play Schedule
Thursday, Feb. 10 -- Opening Ceremony and Practice Round - teams playing throughout the day
Friday, Feb. 11 -- Big Ten Match Play - First Round Matches
Saturday, Feb. 12 -- Big Ten Match Play - Second Round Matches

The Matches
Michigan earned a first-round bye for the third straight year as the Wolverines are the fifth seed. U-M will face off against No. 4 Northwestern in the quarterfinal. If U-M wins, it will play the winner of No. 1 Illinois vs. winner of No. 8 Penn State/No. 9 Minnesota. If U-M loses, it will play the losing team from that same match. Other first-round matches include: No. 2 Iowa vs. winner of No. 7 Indiana/No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 3 Ohio State vs. winner of No. 6 Purdue/No. 11 Michigan State.

The Match Play Lineup
Michigan will travel six Wolverines for the Big Ten Match Play as senior Lion Kim (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary Prep School), senior Alexander Sitompul (Jakarta, Indonesia/Bradenton Prep Academy [Fla.]), junior Matt Thompson (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview HS), sophomore Rahul Bakshi (Chandigarh, India/St. John's HS), sophomore Jack Schultz (Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish Bay HS) and freshman Joey Garber (Petoskey, Mich./Petoskey) will all compete for the Maize and Blue.

The Match Play Records
Listed is the all-time Big Ten Match Play Records for the Wolverines -- Jack Schultz (2-0-1); Alexander Sitompul (2-2-2); Lion Kim (3-3-0); Matt Thompson (4-2); Ross Millman (2-1); Nick Pumford (1-2); Bill Rankin (0-0-3) ;Rahul Bakshi (0-3) and Alex Frankel (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 but closed sixth at the event with a 1-2 record. After dropping its opening match to No. 6 Northwestern (4-2), No. 3 seed U-M 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 dramatic 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).

The Fall Season
After opening the fall season with a ninth-place finish at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, the Wolverines closed the fall season with four straight top-five finishes, including winning the title at the Windon Memorial Classic following Lion Kim's first collegiate medalist honor. Kim, who had three top-10 finishes, closed the fall season averaging a U-M record pace 71.27 strokes per round, while newcomer Joey Garber was second at 72.87. As a team, U-M averaged 288.13 per round.

Finding the Golden Ticket
After surviving a seven-plus hour weather delay, Lion Kim used a 6-and-5 championship match-play win over David McDaniel to win the 85th U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship on July 17 at Bryan Park's Champions Course. By winning the USAPL, Kim earned an invitation to compete next April in The Masters at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club.

Practice Facility on its Way
In July (2010), the U-M Board of Regents approved the schematic design of the new practice facility for the men's and women's golf programs. The $2.5 million, 10,000 gross-square-foot facility designed by Ann Arbor Architects Collaborative will be funded by athletic resources and gifts. The new building, set off South Main Street on the west side of the driving range of the U-M Golf Course, will provide space for functional training, meeting and practice for golf teams.

Can They Make It Four Straight?
Michigan will be looking to get a bid to its fourth straight NCAA Regional. Last season, the Wolverines received their third straight NCAA Regional berth with an invitation to the central regional at the Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. That selection marked the 33rd NCAA postseason appearance for the Wolverines and is the program's fifth regional, with previous action at the 1997, 2000 and 2008 Central Regionals and the 2009 Southwest Regional, since the format changed to regional play. In his coaching career, U-M head coach Andrew Sapp had made 12 trips to the NCAA Finals, taking three different schools to the championship event.

Maize and Blue Jewel Selected for Regional
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 hosted 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.

Sun-Tue., Feb. 20-22 -- at Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, P.R.)
Mon-Tue., Feb. 28-March 1 -- at USC Collegiate Invitational (Westlake Village, Calif.)