Oct. 5, 2012
Sun-Tue, Oct. 7-9 -- at Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic (South Bend, Ind.), 8:30 a.m.
Next on the Tee
The University of Michigan men's golf team travels to South Bend, Ind., and the Warren Golf Course Sunday through Tuesday (Oct. 7-9) for Notre Dame's Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic. The event marks the halfway point of U-M's five-tournament fall season. There will be 12 teams in the field playing 54 holes over the three-day event. Scoring for the Gridiron Classic will be five players; count the low four scores each round playing in threesomes. Selected teams, including U-M, will be allowed to bring invited individuals. The Warren Course will be set up for a par 71 at 7,023 yards.
The Tournament Field
There will be 12 teams in the field for the 2012 Figthin' Irish Gridiron Classic, including: Boston College, Gonzaga, Houston, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, San Francisco, Toledo, UNC-Wilmington, UT-Arlington and Xavier
The Tournament Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 6 -- Practice Round -- tee times throughout the day, U-M at 12:18 & 12:26 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 7 - -- First Round (18) begins with tee times at 8:30 a.m.
Monday, Oct. 8 -- Second Round (18) begins with tee times at 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 9 -- Final Round (18) begins with tee times at 8:30 a.m.
The Wolverine Lineup
Michigan will bring five starters and two individuals to the Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic. Senior Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) and freshmen Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) and Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School) head up U-M's travel team. Senior Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) and sophomore Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) round out the starting five. Freshman Andrew Yeager (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central HS), who makes his collegiate debut, and sophomore Andrew Wong (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Pompano Beach HS) will play as invited individuals.
U-M head coach Chris Whitten will take his Wolverines back to his alma mater this weekend. Whitten played golf from 1999-2002, helping the Irish to Big East runner-up finishes (1999 & 2002). Whitten also began his coaching career with the Irish (2003-05) as he was the program's first assistant coach.
Michigan makes its return to the Warren Golf Course after tying for sixth at the 2010 NCAA Central Regional, which was hosted by the Irish. The Wolverines missed making the NCAA Finals by a single shot.
Despite playing the Warren Golf Course just two years ago, none of the current roster has experience on the course.
Michigan has opened the fall season with back-to-back ninth-place finishes.
After walking on to the team last year, Matt Alessi will make his 14th consecutive start for Michigan. Captain Miguel Echavarria will also start his 14th straight (18th career) and play as U-M's No. 1 during the first round. Both players have yet to miss a start over the last two seasons.
Freshman Andrew Yeager will make his collegiate debut playing as an individual.
In his last outing (Windon Memorial), Chris O'Neill recorded back-to-back career-best single-round tallies of 72.
Brett McIntosh is the Wolverines' only left-handed golfer on the team. He currently has the lowest round total of the season with a one-under 70 in the second round of the Inverness Intercollegiate.
Michigan's roster is comprised of players from three countries (Columbia, Canada, South Korea) and three U.S. states (Florida, Michigan and Virginia).
Michigan has been selected for NCAA regional play the last five seasons.
Former Wolverine Justin Hicks finished seventh among the top 25 in earnings on the Web.com tour to earn his PGA Tour card for the upcoming season.
In the Spotlight
| Matt Alessi
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
On how the preparation for Notre Dame's event has progressed ... "It has been great. Those first two tournaments gave us an idea of what we needed to work on with each guy individually. I think that everyone has put in some good work this week and we got on the course a few times, so it has been good."
On what he has worked on individually ... "I have just been playing more, getting out there, and getting those tournament reps in. I've really been working hard on my putting and my short-hand game. It has really been shaping up over the last week and with some of the games and drills we have played. Hopefully that will carry over into Notre Dame."
On going from a walk-on to a starter and playing at Michigan ... "It's everything that I could have imagined. I am trying to enjoy every day. It's easy for guys who have been on the team for a while to take it for granted, but a guy like me who just stepped on the team out of nowhere and didn't expect it. I love every day of it. It has been a great experience. I have learned a lot about, not only my game, but about myself as a person, so it has been great."
On the art of putting ... "The secret is all mental. It's really believing in yourself and seeing it go in. There are a few technical things, but in the end it's just seeing the line, getting the right speed and rolling it in. It's all mental."
On something people don't know about him ... "I love basketball. I am just a basketball junkie. Basketball, other than golf, is my passion."
On preference for college basketball or the NBA ... "College for sure, but I like the NBA Playoffs. I don't like the NBA regular season, but the playoffs get me pumped up. "
On whether he ever played basketball ... "I played basketball in high school for four years. I played the two and three guard. I was a shooter, but I could rebound. I am a jumper, I have a really good vertical jump and that's why I played the three a little too."
Last Time Out
Paced with a top-five finish from Chris O'Neill, Michigan closed with a 304 final round to post a 916 event total and finish ninth at the Windon Memorial Classic held at the Skokie Country Club. O'Neill posted back-to-back career-best single-round totals of one-over 72, helping him to a career-best 218 54-hole event total. [ Recap ]
Mon-Tue., Oct. 15-16 -- at Alister MacKenzie Invitational (Fairfax, Calif.)
Mon-Tue., Oct. 29-30 -- at the Stanford Classic (Pebble Beach, Calif.)
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423