Week #11: Michigan to Start Postseason with Big Ten Championships

April 23, 2012

Fri-Sun., April 27-29 -- at Big Ten Championships (French Lick, Ind.)
Live Scoring

Next on the Tee
It's championship time! The University of Michigan men's golf team will shift its focus towards its second season as the Wolverines travel to French Lick, Ind., Friday through Sunday (April 27-29) for the 72-hole Big Ten Championships. For the first time the conference event will be held at a neutral site and coincide with the women's championship, as the tournament will be held at the French Lick Resort's Pete Dye Course. The conference tournament will be played with a 5-count-4 format with the Dye course set up for a par 72, 7,152 yards.

The New Big Ten Championship Location
This year's Big Ten Championships will introduce a new twist -- a neutral site. For the first time, the Big Ten's men's and women's programs will compete during the same weekend -- Friday through Sunday (April 27-29) -- as well as play at the same resort -- the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind. In fact, conference event will be held in French Lick for the next three years.

The Championship Schedule
Thursday, April 26 -- Registration and Practice Round
Friday, April 27 -- First & Second Round (36) -- 8 a.m./1 p.m., tee times
Saturday, April 28 -- Third Round (18) -- 9 a.m., tee times
Sunday, April 29 -- Final Round (18) -- 8 a.m., tee times

The Championship Field
All 12 conference schools will participate in the 2012 Big Ten Championships. Seven of the 12 schools are rated among the top 100 in the latest Golfstat Relative Ranking -- #1 Iowa (26), #2 Indiana (37), #3 Illinois (39), #4 Northwestern (55), #5 Purdue (59), #6 Ohio State (66), #7 Michigan, State (94), #8 Minnesota (104), #9 Michigan (122), #10 Penn State (147), #11 Wisconsin (157) and #12 Nebraska (180).

The Championship First Day Pairings
Each Big Ten team's Golfstat ranking will reflect its seeding for the championships' opening round. Below is the pairings for the first 36 holes of the championship.

Tee #1 (player order: 1-5)
#1 seed Iowa, #2 seed Indiana (8 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
#3 seed Illinois, #4 seed Northwestern (8:40 a.m. & 1:40 p.m.)
#5 seed Purdue, #6 seed Ohio State (9:20 a.m. & 2:20 p.m.)
Tee #10 (player order: 1-5)
#7 seed Michigan State, #8 seed Minnesota (8 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
#9 seed Michigan, #10 seed Penn State, (8:40 a.m. & 1:40 p.m.)
#11 seed Wisconsin, #12 seed Nebraska (9:20 a.m. & 2:20 p.m.)

The Championship Second & Third Day Pairings
Day two and three pairings will be based upon each team's position on the leaderboard and will follow this time schedule:

Tee #1 (player order: 5-1)
#5 position, #6 position (9 a.m.)
#3 position, #4 position (9:40 a.m.)
#1 position, #2 position (10:20 a.m.)
Tee #10 (player order: 5-1)
#11 position, #12 position (9 a.m.)
#9 position, #10 position (9:40 a.m.)
#7 position, #8 position (10:20 a.m.)

Tee #1 (player order: 5-1)
#5 position, #6 position (8 a.m.)
#3 position, #4 position (8:40 a.m.)
#1 position, #2 position (9:20 a.m.)
Tee #10 (player order: 5-1)
#11 position, #12 position (8 a.m.)
#9 position, #10 position (8:40 a.m.)
#7 position, #8 position (9:20 a.m.)

The Championship Lineup
Michigan will bring five members for 2012 Big Ten Championships. Playing for the Wolverines will be: senior Matt Thompson (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview HS), junior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School), freshman Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]), freshman Andrew Wong (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Pompano Beach HS) and junior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice).

Championship Experience
Matt Thompson -- fourth: 2011 (t-13th, 295); 2010 (t-6th, 208); 2009 (42nd, 302)
Miguel Echavarria -- first conference championship
Noori Hyun -- first conference championship
Andrew Wong -- first conference championship
Matt Alessi -- first conference championship

Michigan at the Big Ten Championships
Michigan has won 12 total Big Ten championships through the history of the program, with the last coming in the 1952 season. Individually, U-M has had 15 players win the conference event, with the last coming in 1999 by Michael Harris.

Regional Coming to Ann Arbor
Michigan and the 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.

Back on Track
Following his 10-under 206 tally at the Furman Intercollegiate March 16-18, Matt Thompson is back on track to break his U-M single-season scoring average record. Currently, he is averaging 72.17 per round, which is just behind his record of 72.00 set during the 2009-10 season. Additionally, Thompson is also holding on to a 72.85 career average, which is on pace to claim the top spot all-time for a career -- Michael Harris (72.92).

Follow the Leader
Matt Thompson has finished as the top Wolverine in seven of U-M's 10 events this season. He has six top-20 individual finishes, with four in the top 10 and three among the top five -- including his first career win at the 2011 Windon Memorial Classic, Oct. 16-17. For his career, he has cracked the top 20 in 25 of 47 career events, including 12 top-10 and six top-five placements.

Make it Three Conference Accolades
Matt Thompson claimed a share of the Big Ten Golfer of the Week after his near win at the Furman Intercollegiate. The conference accolade is the third of the season for the senior. Overall, he is just the fourth Wolverine all-time to claim the Big Ten honor and holds the most with three total in his career. The only other Wolverines to earn the honor include Michael Harris (2000), Brandon Duff (2006) and Lion Kim (2008).

A Near Miss for Thompson
Matt Thompson's 10-under 206 at the Furman Intercollegiate just missed his career best by a single shot. Earlier in the fall, Thompson tied his career best with a five-under 205 (69-71-65) at the 2011 Windon Memorial Classic. He set the personal best with an eight-under 205 (69-69-67) at the 2009 Wolf Run Intercollegiate. Overall, Thompson's tally was the sixth-lowest 54-hole tournament total all-time at U-M.

A Breakout Year
Miguel Echavarria continues to have a breakout year as he is averaging a career-best 74.88 per round -- nearly one-and-a-half shots better than his prior best of 76.40 during his freshman year. He has started all 10 events, finishing as either the second- or third-best Wolverine nine times. He also led U-M with a perfect 2-0 record at the Big Ten Match Play Championship. This season, Echavarria has set new career bests for single-round (68), 36-hole event (148) and 54-hole event (214).

Coming on During the Spring
Noori Hyun made his fifth straight start of the spring season at the LSU National Invitational. After going 1-1 at the Big Ten Match Play Championship, he started the Puerto Rico Classic, where shot 228, including a career-best 71 in the final round. Those totals did not last long, as Hyun led U-M for the first time in his career, tallying a career-best 224 at the North Ranch Collegiate, including a new career-best single-round total with a one-under 69 in the final round. For the season, he has started seven of eight events and is averaging 76.33 per round.

Getting the Nod
After walking on to the team this season, Matt Alessi will make his first postseason start at the Big Ten Championships. In fact, he has started all 10 events this season, averaging 77.33 per round. He shot a career-best 72 on two different occasions and tallied a career-best 54-hole total of 221 at the Furman Intercollegiate.

Late Surge to a Starting Spot
Andrew Wong will be making his second straight start for the Wolverines and will compete in just his fourth event of the season. He opened his career playing in the first two events of the season as an individual before closing the season starting the last two -- LSU Invitational and Big Ten Championships. He is averaging 78.29 per round.

Thu-Sat., May 17-19 -- host NCAA Regional (U-M Golf Course)
Tue-Sun., May 29-June 3 -- NCAA Finals (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423