March 2, 2011
Mon-Tue., March 7-8 -- at Fresno State Lexus Classic (Fresno, Calif.)
Next on the Tee
After taking a trip to TaylorMade's The Kingdom and playing the Los Angeles Country Club and Bel Air County Club, the University of Michigan men's golf team will close its spring break with a trip to Fresno, Calif., Monday and Tuesday (March 8-9) at the Fresno State Lexus Classic. The 54-hole event, played with a 6-count-5 format, will be held at the Sunnyside Country Club. The course will be set up for a par of 72 and 6,950 yards.
The Tournament Field
The Fresno State Lexus Classic field will include 16 teams -- BYU, CSU-Bakersfield, No. 21 Duke, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Kansas State, No. 35 Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico State, New Mexico, Pacific, Sacramento State, No. 14 San Diego State, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and UTEP.
The Tournament Schedule
Sunday, March 6 -- Practice Round (Noon PST, shotgun)
Monday, March 7 -- First & Second Round (7:45 a.m. PST, shotgun)
Tuesday, March 8 -- Final Round (8 a.m. PST, tee times)
The Tournament Scoring Format
Scoring for the Fresno State Lexus Classic will be six players, count the low five scores each round.
The Tournament Lineup
Michigan will have all six Wolverines playing in the Fresno State Lexus Classic, including 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 Rahul Bakshi (Chandigarh, India/St. John's HS), sophomore Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) and freshman Joey Garber (Petoskey, Mich./Petoskey).
Last Year in Fresno
Michigan closed the 2010 Fresno State Lexus Classic in fifth with a 1,092 total, which was played at the San Joaquin Country Club. In an altered event format, playing 6-count-5, the top six teams were separated throughout the day by less than three shots and the final round concluded with just 10 strokes separating first to sixth. The Wolverines opened the event with a 372 total. Following a lunch break, the Maize and Blue dropped its score by 23 strokes to eventually finish with a six-under 349 score, the best round for any team at the event before closing with a 371 in the final round to close fifth. Jack Schultz led U-M as he tied for 14th with a 216 tally, while Alexander Sitompul tied for 21st (218), Lion Kim was 24th (219) and Matt Thompson tied for 25th (220).
Rookie Make His Early Mark
Joey Garber led U-M at an event for the second time this season at USC's Collegiate Invitational. His tie for eighth also marked the third time this season he has closed in the top 10 at an event. Garber's first-round, one-under 70 was his ninth sub-par round of the season. He is second on the Wolverines, posting a 72.76 per-round average, which is on pace to set the U-M freshman record for season average. Garber opened the spring going a perfect 3-0 at the Big Ten Match Play Championship.
Not Shying Away from Competition
In the spring season's four events, Michigan has played against a total of 57 teams, with 33 of those being ranked among the countries top 50. So far this season, U-M has a record of 61-36-1 for a .629 winning percentage. Currently, Michigan is listed 35th in the country by the Golfweek/Sagarin rating system.
When Michigan finishes competing at Fresno State's Lexus Classic, the Wolverines will have nearly a month away from competition. The next event U-M will play is the LSU Intercollegiate, held April 2-3 at the LSU Golf Course in Baton Rouge, La.
Playing in the Red
So far this season, Lion Kim has shot 12 of his 21 rounds at par or better. He leads U-M with a 71.71 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 72.76 per round. Currently, U-M averages 289.57 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 eight events for the Wolverines. The fifth-man spot has rotated between Alexander Sitompul (four starts in four events), Rahul Bakshi (three starts in five events) and Miguel Echavarria (two starts in four events).
Someone Also 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.
Sat-Sun., April 2-3 -- at LSU Intercollegiate (Baton Rouge, La.)
Mon-Sun., April 4-11 -- Lion Kim at the Masters (Augusta, Ga.)
Sat-Sun., April 16-17 -- at Illini Spring Classic (Urbana, Ill.)
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423