Week #7: Michigan to Head to Three-Day Puerto Rico Classic

Feb. 16, 2012

Sun-Tue., Feb. 19-21 -- at Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico)
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Next on the Tee
Fresh off opening the spring season at the Big Ten Match Play Championship, the University of Michigan men's golf team will head to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Sunday through Tuesday (Feb. 19-21) for the 2012 Puerto Rico Classic. The 54-hole tournament, featuring eight of the top 50 ranked programs and three of the nation's top 10 teams -- including No. 1 Texas -- will be played at the River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club. The River Course will be set up for a par of 72 and 6,902 yards.

The Tournament Field
There will be a 15-team field in the Puerto Rico Classic, including No. 8 Alabama, No. 16 Clemson, East Tennessee State, No. 26 Georgia, No. 7 Georgia Tech, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, No. 35 Oklahoma, No. 24 Oklahoma State, No. 40 Purdue, No. 1 Texas, UNC Greensboro and Virginia Tech.

The Tournament Schedule
Saturday, Feb. 18 -- Practice Round & College Am (8:30 a.m., AST, shotgun)
Sunday, Feb. 19 -- First Round (8 a.m. AST, shotgun)
Monday, Feb. 20 -- Second Round (8 a.m. AST, shotgun)
Tuesday, Feb. 21 -- Final Round (7:30 a.m. AST, shotgun)

The Tournament Scoring Format
Scoring for the Puerto Rico Classic will be five players; count the low four scores each round.

The Match Play Lineup
Michigan will bring five-members for the 2012 Puerto Rico Classic. 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) and freshman Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]). Sophomore Matt Felsenfeld (West Bloomfield, Mich./Leadbetter Golf Academy [Fla.]) will travel to Puerto Rico and use it as a training and practice trip.

The Annual Trek
Michigan will be making its 10th straight appearance at the Puerto Rico Classic, hosted by Purdue. In one of the early spring seasons toughest tests, the Wolverines have continued to move up the leaderboard at the event with each passing year. U-M recorded its best team finish with a sixth-place showing in 2008. Lion Kim has the top individual performance, tying for 10th in 2008 (76-68-69/213).

U-M at the Puerto Rico Classic
2003 -- 18th (328-319-313/960)
2004 -- 18th (319-302-301/922)
2005 -- 18th (300-307-320/927)
2006 -- 18th (305-297-304/906)
2007 -- 17th (304-303-297/904)
2008 -- 6th (291-287-292/870)
2009 -- t-9th (287-294-296/877)
2010 -- t-13th (293-288-295/876)
2011 -- 12th (300-302-286/888)

We Meet Yet Again
When Michigan heads to the Puerto Rico Classic, it will mark the fourth time this season the Wolverines will play against former head coach Andrew Sapp and his North Carolina Tar Heels. So far this season, the series all tied up at 1-1-1. Sapp, originally from Chapel Hill, N.C., took over his alma mater after having coached with the Wolverines for nine years (2003-11).

Match Play Streak Kept Alive
With Miguel Echavarria's 2-0 record at the 2012 Big Ten Match Play, he kept Michigan's streak alive of having at least one Wolverine go undefeated in each of the conference's match play event. Matt Thompson was 3-0 in the inaugural event in 2009, while Jack Schultz was 2-0-1 in 2010 and former Wolverine Joey Garber was 3-0 last year.

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.

The New Home of the Wolverines
Following the fall season, 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 ]

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)

Mon-Tue., Feb. 27-28 -- at North Ranch Collegiate (West Lake Village, Calif.)
Fri-Sun., March 16-18 -- at Furman Intercollegiate (Greenville, S.C.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423