Week #2: Michigan to Return to Inverness for Fall Tournament Action
Jack Schultz

Sept. 21, 2011

• Mon-Tue., Sept. 26-27 -- at Inverness Intercollegiate (Toledo, Ohio)
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Next on the Tee
The University of Michigan men's golf team will travel to Toledo, Ohio, Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 26-27) for the 2011 Inverness Intercollegiate at the Inverness Club. This will be the first time U-M returns to the Toledo area course since the Wolverines national semifinal run at the 2009 NCAA Championships. The event will have 11 teams in the field, playing 54 holes in the two-day tournament. Scoring will be five players; count the low four scores each round. Selected teams will be allowed an individual, including the Wolverines. The Inverness Club will be set up for a par 71 and 7,255 yards.

The Tournament Field
There will be 11 schools participating in the Inverness Intercollegiate: East Tennessee State, Florida, Kent State, Kentucky, Liberty, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, South Alabama and Toledo.

The Tournament Schedule
Sunday, Sept. 25 -- Practice Round, tee times throughout day
Monday, Sept. 26 -- First Round (18), shotgun start at 9 a.m.
Monday, Sept. 26 -- Second Round (18), continuous play after first round
Tuesday, Sept. 27 -- Final Round (18), shotgun start at 9 a.m.

The Tournament Lineup
With qualifying leading up to the tournament, the Wolverines starting five, and lone individual, has yet to be determined. Vying for spots will be: senior Matt Thompson (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview HS), junior Rahul Bakshi (Chandigarh, India/St. John's HS), junior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School), junior Jack Schultz (Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish Bay HS), junior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice), sophomore Matt Felsenfeld (West Bloomfield, Mich./ Leadbetter Golf Academy [Fla.]), freshman Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) and freshman Andrew Wong (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Pompano Beach HS).

Program Memories Made at Inverness
During the 2008-09 season, Michigan won two team titles, had eight top-five finishes in 14 events. Those numbers helped the Wolverines earn their second straight NCAA regional bid. Finishing fifth in the NCAA Southwest Regional, U-M advanced to the NCAA Finals for the first time in 12 years at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. U-M's postseason momentum continued at the championship event as the Wolverines moved on to the NCAA Match Play Finals, where they closed third, one hole away from competing for a national title.

Another Fine Inverness Memory
It has been 11 years since the Wolverines competed at the Inverness Intercollegiate. In fact, during the 2000 Inverness Intercollegiate, former Wolverine Scott Hayes (1998-2001), who shot an even-par 213 (71-72-70), took medalist honors after winning in a scorecard playoff. As for the team, U-M tied for ninth at 909 (306-298-305).

A Little Course Knowledge
Matt Thompson is the only Wolverine to have played at the Inverness Club. In 2009, he helped lead U-M to the NCAA Finals and a semifinal finish. He tied for 36th with a 54-hole tally of 219 (75-74-70) and was 1-0-1 in match play.

Some Insiders Knowledge of the Club
Before coming to Michigan in 2006, U-M head coach Chris Whitten was an assistant golf professional at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. While there, he assisted with tournament operations for more than 90 summer golf events, including the University of Toledo's Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational during the fall.

Oh Captain, My Captain
Following a vote from his teammates, Matt Thompson was selected to serve as team captain for the 2011-12 season. In three years, Thompson has helped U-M to two top-10 NCAA finishes and three of U-M's four straight NCAA regional bids, including the program's first regional title in 2011. He also set the program mark for the best freshman and sophomore single-season scoring averages. In his career, he has started 34 of 37 events and carries a career scoring average of 73.02, which ranks second all-time at U-M. A 2010 All-Big Ten second team selection, Thompson has earned two straight PING All-Midwest Region selections.

Setting New Standards Early
Miguel Echavarria tied a career best, posting a three-under 68 in second round at the Wolverine Intercollegiate. He equaled the 68 (-4) he fired in the second round of the 2010 Rod Myers Invitational. With the career-best round, Echavarria set a new career-best 54-hole tournament tally with a 214 (71-68-75), topping his previous best by seven shots, a 221 (79-68-74) at the 2010 Rod Myers Invitational.

Welcome to College Golf
Noori Hyun, Andrew Wong and Matt Alessi made their collegiate debuts at the Wolverine Intercollegiate. Alessi, who earned a spot on the team as a walk-on, started his first career event, tying for 48th (78-74-75/227). Playing as individuals, Noori Hyun tied for 40th at 224 (71-76-77), while Andrew Wong was 56th at 236 (83-77-76).

New Head Man in Charge
After spending five years as an assistant coach, Chris Whitten takes the reins of the Wolverines in 2011-12. He replaces Andrew Sapp, who left to become the head coach at his alma mater, North Carolina. Whitten, who is just the ninth head coach in U-M history, was a finalist for the Jan Strickland Award, given to the top assistant coach in all NCAA divisions over the last two seasons. Throughout Whitten's tenure at U-M, the Wolverines have posted eight tournament wins and five individuals have won eight medalist honors. Michigan posted four straight NCAA regional bids and won the program's first team regional title at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional. Advancing to the NCAA Finals twice in the last three years, the Wolverines placed sixth to advance to team match play, closing with a semifinalist finish in 2009 while tying for 10th in 2011, missing match play by just three shots.

The Return of the Belt Buckle
After U-M head coach Chris Whitten was named head coach, he turned to former Wolverine captain Nick Pumford, who throughout his four-year career was known for his belt buckles during tournament play, to fill the assistant coaching position. While at Michigan, Pumford earned a general studies degree and was a four-year letterwinner. During his collegiate playing career, Pumford started 29 of 33 events and recorded five top-10 individual finishes, including winning the 2007 Wolf Run Intercollegiate. He helped U-M return to the NCAA postseason after an eight-year absence with back-to-back regional selections in 2008 and 2009. Following a brief professional playing career, Pumford began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Georgia State under head coach Joe Inman during the 2010-11 season.

Regional Bids Keep Coming
Michigan has been selected to four straight NCAA regional appearances. U-M's 2010 selection marked its 34th NCAA postseason appearance and the program's sixth regional since the format changed to regional play in 1991. Overall, the Wolverines have participated in five central regionals (1997, 2000, '08, '10, '11) and one southwest regional (2009).

Michigan and the NCAA Regional
1997 -- Central (8th)
2000 -- Central (t-11th)
2008 -- Central (t-12th)
2009 -- Southwest (5th), advanced to NCAA Finals (match play semifinalist)
2010 -- Central (t-6th)
2011 -- Central (1st), advanced to NCAA Finals (tied for 10th)

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 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.

Practice Facility Almost Completed
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. After starting construction last September, the building is near completion. Both teams are scheduled to move into the building in mid-to-late October. 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.

• Sat-Sun., Oct. 1-2 -- at Rod Myers Invitational (Durham, N.C.)
• Sun-Mon., Oct. 16-17 -- at Windon Memorial Classic (Skokie, Ill.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423