This Week in Michigan Men's Golf: Big Ten Championships

April 24, 2013

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Fri-Sun., April 26-28 -- at Big Ten Championships (French Lick, Ind.)
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Next on the Tee: Big Ten Championships
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 26-28) for the 72-hole Big Ten Championships. For the second year, 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 Big Ten Championships Field
All 12 conference schools will participate in the 2013 Big Ten Championships. The official seeding will be announced at Wednesday (April 24). According to the latest Golfstat Relative Ranking, the current seeding would be Northwestern (28), Illinois (35), Iowa (56), Indiana (67), Purdue (80), Ohio State (89), Michigan State (97), Minnesota (112), Michigan (117), Nebraska (142), Penn State (146) and Wisconsin (169).

The Big Ten Championships Schedule
Thursday, April 25 -- Registration and Practice Round
Thursday, April 25 -- Coaches Meeting, 6:15 p.m. & Banquet, 6:45 p.m.
Friday, April 26 -- First & Second Round (36) -- 8 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. tee times
Saturday, April 27 -- Third Round (18) -- 9 a.m., tee times
Sunday, April 28 -- Final Round (18) -- 8 a.m., tee times

The First Day Pairing
Below is the pairings for the first 36 holes of the championship.
Tee #1 (player order: 1-5)
#1 seed #2 seed (8 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
#3 seed #4 seed (8:40 a.m. & 1:40 p.m.)
#5 seed #6 seed (9:20 a.m. & 2:20 p.m.)
Tee #10 (player order: 1-5)
#7 seed #8 seed (8 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
#9 seed #10 seed (8:40 a.m. & 1:40 p.m.)
#11 seed #12 seed (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:

Day Two: 18 holes
Tee #1 (player order: 5-1)
#5 team, #6 team (9 a.m.)
#3 team, #4 team (9:40 a.m.)
#1 team, #2 team (10:20 a.m.)
Tee #10 (team order: 5-1)
#11 team, #12 team (9 a.m.)
#9 team, #10 team (9:40 a.m.)
#7 team, #8 team (10:20 a.m.)

Day Three: 18 holes

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

The Big Ten Championships Lineup
Michigan will bring five members for 2013 Big Ten Championships. Playing for the Wolverines will be: freshman Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS), freshman Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School), senior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice), senior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) and sophomore Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]).

Big Ten Championships Experience
Matt Alessi -- second: 2012 (59th; 335)
Miguel Echavarria -- second: 2012 (t-33rd; 309)
Noori Hyun -- second: 2012 (55th; 324)
Brett McIntosh -- first conference championship
Chris O'Neill -- first conference championship

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


• Michigan has finished among the top three in its last four events. U-M won the Detroit Golf Club Invitational, was the runner-up at the Colleton River Collegiate (March 6-7) and the C&F Bank Intercollegiate (March 24-26) and was third at the Hoosier Invitational (April 6-7).

• Michigan has competed in 11 tournaments this season, with two of those events in a match-play format -- the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point and the Big Ten Match Play Championship. U-M averages 296.88 per team round and has four top-five finishes this season, including one team title (Detroit Golf Club Invitational).

• Michigan won the Detroit Golf Club Invitational, claiming its 42nd team title in the history of the program and the first in Chris Whitten's career. It is the first team title since U-M won the 2011 NCAA Central Regional. In addition, Noori Hyun's first career medalist honor produced U-M's 40th career individual title. It is the second individual title for Whitten; former Wolverine Matt Thompson claimed the 2011 Windon Memorial Classic title last season.

Matt Alessi, Chris O'Neill and Brett McIntosh are the only Wolverines to have started all 11 events this season. Miguel Echavarria has started 10 of 11 events this season. All four are expected to start at the Big Ten Championships. After joining the team as a walk-on last season, Alessi will make his 22nd consecutive start over the last two seasons.

• In Michigan's nine stroke-play events, the Wolverines have had an individual finish among the top 15 eight times. Brett McIntosh tied for third at the Inverness Intercollegiate and tied for fourth at the NYX Hoosier Invitational; Chris O'Neill placed fifth at the Windon Memorial Classic, was seventh at the Colleton River Collegiate, tied for 11th at the C&F Bank Intercollegiate and tied for 14th at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational; and Noori Hyun won the Detroit Golf Club Invitational and finished eighth at the Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic.

Chris O'Neill continues to lead Michigan with a 73.92 per-round average, while Brett McIntosh is second at 74.75 and Matt Alessi third at 75.25. With current men's golf history dating back to the early 1980s, a freshman has never led the team in scoring average.

Chris O'Neill has posted four straight top-20 finishes, including two among the top 10. Overall, he leads U-M with six top-20 finishes on the season.

• During the Detroit Golf Club Invitational, Noori Hyun's second round 68 (E) matched his career-best single-round tally, which he first fired earlier this season in the second round (68, -3) at the 2012 Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic (Oct. 7-9). Chris O'Neill lowered his career-best single-round tally with a one-under 67 in the second round. He topped the two-under 69 he had in the first round of the 2012 Alister MacKenzie Invitational (Oct. 15-16).

Brett McIntosh's Hoosier Invitational five-under 66 was not only a career best, it also marks the lowest round by a Wolverine this season. He is the ninth Wolverine in history to post a 66, which is the third-lowest round total at U-M. The U-M record is 64, which has been recorded on three occasions.

Matt Alessi's career-low, two-under 69 in the first round of the Hoosier Invitational bettered his previous best by a shot. He carded a one-under 70 in the third round of the Alister MacKenzie Invitational (Oct. 16).

Brett McIntosh, who hails from London, Ontario, Canada, is the Wolverines' only left-handed golfer on the team. He is the first lefty to play for U-M since Kevin Dore (2004-07), who was from Dundas, Ontario.

• Michigan has been selected for NCAA Regional play the last five seasons, with four team selections preceding Matt Thompson's individual appearance last spring.


Chris O'Neill
Glen Allen, Va.

On the late spring successes translating to confidence going into postseason ... "We have exactly the momentum we need going into the Big Ten Tournament. We couldn't have asked for a better finish last week, going in. The field wasn't quite as strong as what we have played in some of the other events, but a win is a win. We are headed in the right direction and it really helps us out mentally. I just feel we have a good chance."

On coming together at the right time ... "It's what it is all about. You saw what the basketball team did. It's all about play well and together at the right time. So that is what we are going to do."

On how his game is shaping up for the postseason ... "I'd like to hope it is getting better. It feels like it is fairly consistent. It is golf. Some days are better than others, but as a team I know we have improved this year, I know we have gotten better. I really do believe we are going to win."

On coming together as a team this season ... "I'm surrounded by people who do share the same competitive drive and I think that it takes a little while for the team chemistry to build because it is all new people. I think at the end of this year they all understand the goal, and we are all on the same page. We are all working together. We all want to win. If we stay in a good mental mindset we will be just fine."

On playing a 72-hole event ... "I like four round events. I think it gives us more time to prove the quality of our golf. It gives you a longer period, an extra round to show that you belong there."

On the French Lick Course ... "I heard it is tough and has some difficult holes. Isn't that what you want? For me, never really have playing on it going in blind can sometimes be good. I like to play aggressively. Sometimes you have to go out there and just play your game and see how it all comes together in the end."

Paced by Noori Hyun's first career medalist honor, Michigan posted 709 total and claimed the team title at the Detroit Golf Club Invitational (April 11) played at the historic Detroit Golf Club. The event was a late addition to U-M's schedule. The Wolverines used depth, with all six starters finishing among the top-20, in the rare 6-count-5 format to post team tallies of 366 on the par-72 North Course and a 343 total on the par-68 South Course to stake claim to the program's 42nd team title by 13 shots over runner-up Xavier (722). [ Recap ]

Thu-Sat., May 16-18 -- at NCAA Regional (Site TBD)
Tue-Sun., May 28-June 2 -- at NCAA Championships (Atlanta, Ga.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423