Week #8: Wolverines to Start Spring Break with USC Collegiate Invitational

Feb. 25, 2011

• Mon-Tue., Feb. 28-March 1 -- at USC Collegiate Invitational (Westlake Village, Calif.)
Live Scoring

Next on the Tee
After two trips down south, the University of Michigan men's golf team will head to the West Coast as it embarks on the 2011 spring break tour of California over the next 11 days. The first leg of the trip will begin with a trip to Westlake Village, Calif., Sunday and Monday (Feb. 28-March 1) for USC's Collegiate Invitational at the North Ranch Country Club. The 54-hole tournament features a 15-team field with 11 of those teams ranked among the top 50 -- including No. 2 UCLA. The North Ranch Country Club will be set up for a par 71 at 6,869 yards.

The Tournament Field
The USC Collegiate Invitational field will include 15 teams, 11 of which are ranked in the top 50 by Golfweek/Sagarin ratings: No. 31 Arizona State, BYU, No. 17 California, Cal State Northridge, Fresno State, No. 33 Michigan, No. 39 Oregon, No. 35 Pepperdine, No. 21 San Diego, No. 12 San Diego State, No. 14 Stanford, UC Davis, No. 2 UCLA, No. 27 USC and No. 24 Washington.

The Tournament Schedule
Sunday, Feb. 27 -- Practice Round (Tee times throughout the day)
Monday, Feb. 28 -- First Round (7:30 a.m. PST, shotgun)
Monday, Feb. 28 -- Second Round (continuous play)
Tuesday, March 1 -- Final Round (7:30 a.m. PST, shotgun)

The Tournament Scoring Format
Scoring for the USC Collegiate Invitational will be five players; count the low four scores each round. Selected teams will be allowed an individual competitor, including the Maize and Blue.

The Tournament Lineup
Michigan will travel six Wolverines for the USC Collegiate Invitational, with the five-man starting squad to be finalized after U-M's practice round. Heading to USC will be 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 Jack Schultz (Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish Bay HS), sophomore Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) and freshman Joey Garber (Petoskey, Mich./Petoskey).

Breaking Down the Visit to the Left Coast
Michigan is going to bookend its spring break trip with a pair of team competitions. Starting with USC's Collegiate Invitational, the Wolverines will close in Fresno, Calif., Monday and Tuesday (March 7-8) at the Fresno State Lexus Classic. U-M played in the six-count-five event last year, finishing fifth out of the 16 team fields. In between the events, U-M will take a trip to TaylorMade, The Kingdom on Wednesday (March 2) before playing the Los Angeles Country Club, Thursday (March 3) and the Bel Air Country Club, Friday (March 4).

Playing in the Red
So far this season, Lion Kim has shot 11 of his 18 rounds at par or better. He leads U-M with a 71.50 per-round average, which is on pace to break the U-M single-season record set last year by teammate Matt Thompson (72.00). Joey Garber continues his stellar first-year campaign as he is on pace to break Thompson's freshman single-season scoring record of 73.54, as Garber is averaging 73.00 per round. Currently, U-M averages 289.44 per team round, which is just ahead of the U-M record set last season (290.45). In fact, the Wolverines have reset the team single-season scoring record in each of the last three seasons.

Finding that Fifth-Man
Lion Kim, Joey Garber, Matt Thompson and Jack Schultz have started all seven events for the Wolverines. The fifth-man spot has rotated between Alexander Sitompul (four starts in four events), Rahul Bakshi (three starts in four events) and Miguel Echavarria (one start in three events).

Garber Goes Perfect
Joey Garber went a perfect 3-0 at the 2011 Big Ten Match Play. 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, while Jack Schultz went 2-0-1 at last year's event.

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.

Mon-Tue., March 7-8 -- at Fresno State Lexus Classic (Fresno, Calif.)
Sat-Sun., April 2-3 -- at LSU Intercollegiate (Baton Rouge, La.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423