Week #11: Wolverines to Close Regular Season at Illini Spring Classic

April 13, 2011

Sat-Sun., April 16-17 -- at Illini Spring Classic (Urbana, Ill.), 8 a.m. CDT
Live Scoring

Next on the Tee
After altering the schedule to allow senior Lion Kim (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary Prep) to play in the 2011 Masters, the University of Michigan men's golf team will close the regular season with a trip to Urbana, Ill, Saturday and Sunday (April 16-17) for the Illini Spring Classic. With nine of 13 competing teams from the Big Ten, the Wolverines will get an early preview of the conference championship, which is scheduled for the end of the month at Purdue. This weekend, U-M will play 54 holes at the Stone Creek Golf Club, which will be set up for a par 72 and 7,018 yards.

The Tournament Field
The Illini Spring Classic field will include 13 teams -- Akron, Creighton, No. 12 Illinois, Illinois State, No. 35 Indiana, No. 41 Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, No. 22 Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Xavier.

The Tournament Schedule
Friday, April 15 -- Practice Round (shotgun)
Saturday, April 16 -- First & Second Rounds (8 a.m. CDT, shotgun)
Sunday, April 17 -- Final Round (8 a.m. CDT, shotgun)

The Tournament Lineup
Michigan will travel five to the Illini Spring Classic. With qualifying leading up to Thursday's travel day, vying for spots include 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).

Changing the Schedule
With Lion Kim competing in the Masters, U-M head coach Andrew Sapp decided to pull out of the Indiana Invitational -- held April 9-10. Instead, U-M rescheduled, opting to play in this weekend's Illinois Spring Classic.

It's Been Awhile
It has been nearly a decade since Michigan played Illinois' Stone Creek Golf Club. During the 2000-01 season, the Wolverines opened at the traditional Big Ten preview -- Northern Intercollegiate -- tying for third at Stone Creek, as former Wolverine Andy Matthews (1999-2002) tied for eighth. In May, U-M returned to Stone Creek, tying for seventh at the Big Ten Championship as former Wolverine Scott Hayes (1998-2001) led U-M, tying for 22nd.

The Streak Comes to an End, but There is a Good Reason
Lion Kim snapped his consecutive U-M tournament streak at 49 after missing the LSU Intercollegiate to play in the 2011 Masters. After getting back to Ann Arbor on Monday, Kim and U-M coach Andrew Sapp decided he will not play in this weekend's Illini Spring Classic.

The Tradition Like No Other
Lion Kim competed in the 2011 Masters after earning invitation following his win at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. After opening with a 76, Kim rallied posting an even-par 72 in the second round, but missed the cut by three strokes. [ Masters Central ]

Not Shying Away from Competition
In the spring season's six events, Michigan has played against a total of 70 teams, with 38 of those being ranked among the countries top 50. So far this season, U-M has a record of 74-48-2 for a 59.7 winning percentage. Currently, Michigan is ranks 41st in the country by the Golfweek/Sagarin rating system.

Playing in the Red
So far this season, Lion Kim has shot 14 of his 24 rounds at par or better. He leads U-M with a 71.83 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 at 72.59 per round.

Emerging from the Shadows
After playing in just two events in the spring, Alexander Sitompul posted a season-best tie for sixth place with a season-best 219 54-hole total at the LSU Intercollegiate. He opened the event Baton Rouge, with as season-best two-under 70 and followed with a one-under 71.

Lower it Again and Again
Michigan averages 291.81 per team round, which is just behind of the U-M record set last season (290.45). Over the last three seasons, the Wolverines have reset the team single-season scoring record -- 294.42 (2007-08) to 292.05 (2008-09) to 290.45 (2009-10).

A Wolverine 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.

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.

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.

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.

Fri-Sun., April 29-May 1 -- at Big Ten Championships (West Lafayette, Ind.)
Thu-Sat., May 19-21 -- at NCAA Regional (TBD, six total sites)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423