This Week in Michigan Men's Golf

Oct. 24, 2012

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Mon-Tue., Oct. 29-30 -- at the Stanford Classic (Pebble Beach, Calif.)
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Next on the Tee
The University of Michigan men's golf team will close its fall season with a rare match-play event as the Wolverines travel to Pebble Beach, Calif., Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 29-30) for the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point. Featuring an eight-team field, the event will feature two days of match play format golf, including best ball, foursome and singles. U-M will be the No. 8 seed and square off against No. 1 seed Texas in the first round. Each team will be comprised of six players playing at the world renowned Cypress Point Club.

The Match Play Field
There will be eight teams in the field for the 2012 Stanford Classic at Cypress Point including No. 11 Duke, No. 9 Georgia, Michigan, No. 24 Stanford, No. 2 Texas, No. 7 UCLA, No. 4 USC, and No. 3 Washington.

The Match Play Schedule
Sunday, Oct. 28 -- Practice Round, tee times from 2:15 to 6 p.m. PDT
Monday, Oct. 29 -- First Round Matches (Best Ball), tee times off No. 1 and 10 at 8 a.m. PDT
Monday, Oct. 29 -- Second Round Matches (Foursomes), tee times off No. 1 and 10 at 12:30 p.m. PDT
Tuesday, Oct. 30 -- Final Round Matches (Singles), tee times off No. 1 and 10 at 8 a.m. PDT

First-Day Matches (Best Ball)
No. 1 Texas vs. No. 8 Michigan
No. 2 Washington vs. No. 7 Stanford
No. 3 USC vs. No. 6 Duke
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 5 Georgia

U-M will play either UCLA or Georgia at 12:30 p.m. PDT Monday

The Wolverine Lineup
Michigan will bring six players for the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point. Seniors Matt Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) and Miguel Echavarria (Medellin, Colombia/The Columbus School) along with sophomore Noori Hyun (Seoul, Korea/Centreville HS [Va.]) and freshmen Brett McIntosh (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary School), Chris O'Neill (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run HS) and Andrew Yeager (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central HS) will all be making the trip to the West Coast.


• Michigan will close its fall season with a unique twist of a rare match-play event at the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, Calif. It marks the first of two match play events for U-M as the Wolverines will open their spring season at the Big Ten Match Play Championship at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. (Feb. 8-9).

• Among the eight teams competing at the Stanford Classic, five are ranked among the nation's top 10 -- No. Texas, No. 3 Washington, No. 4 USC, No. 7 UCLA, No. 9 Georgia, No. 11 Duke and No. 24 Stanford.

• Michigan will play three total matches at the Stanford Classic. All three rounds will feature different formats -- round one (best ball), round two (foursomes) and round three (singles).

• Match play was reintroduced to the NCAA Championships in 2009. After 54 holes of stroke play determines an individual NCAA champion, the team national title is decided in a match-play format comprised of the top eight teams from stroke-play competition. U-M helped usher in the new format in 2009, finishing as a semifinalist at the NCAA Finals at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

Miguel Echavarria (2-0), Matt Alessi (1-1), Noori Hyun (1-1) and Matt Felsenfeld (0-2) are the only Wolverines with match-play experience.

• Michigan has posted a top-15 individual finisher in each of the first four events -- Brett McIntosh (tie-3rd, Inverness Intercollegiate), Chris O'Neill (tie-5th, Windon Memorial Classic and tie-14th at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational) and Noori Hyun (eighth, Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic).

• Using career-best rounds of 69 (-2), 70 (1) and 71 (E), Chris O'Neill lowered his career-best 54-hole tournament total by eight shots with his three-under 210 at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational. He topped the 218 he posted earlier this season at the Windon Memorial Classic.

Chris O'Neill's three-under 210 is the lowest 54-hole event total by a freshman since Joey Garber posted a four-under 209 in the 2011 NCAA Central Regional -- a span of 16 tournaments.

• Following his career-best performance at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, Chris O'Neill was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week. It is the first conference accolade of his career.

Miguel Echavarria's three-under 68 in the second round of the Alister MacKenzie Invitational equaled his career-best single round. He had a 68 on two other occasions -- second round of the 2011 Wolverine Intercollegiate and the second round of the 2010 Rod Myers Invitational.

Miguel Echavarria's three-under 68 in the second round of the Alister MacKenzie Invitational equals the lowest round by a Wolverine this season. He tied Noori Hyun's three-under 68 fired in the second round of the Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic.

• With his career-best final-round one-under 70, Matt Alessi set a new career best for a 54-hole event with a 218 at the Alister MacKeznie Invitational. He topped his previous best of 224 at the 2011 Windon Memorial Classic.

• Michigan set a season best for a 54-hole event with its 868 tally at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational topping U-M's previous best by 24 shots -- 892 at the Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic. En route to the team's top 54-hole total, the Wolverines posted a season-best team total with a 286 in the second round.

Noori Hyun posted a career-best weekend at Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic, setting new bests for finish (8th), single-round tally (68, -3 second) and 54-hole event total (217). It marked the first time he finished among the top 20 at an event. His previous-best finish was a tie for 23rd at the 2012 North Ranch Collegiate.

• After walking on to the team last year, Matt Alessi will make his 16th consecutive start for Michigan. Captain Miguel Echavarria will also start his 16th straight (20th career). Both players have yet to miss a start over the last two seasons.

• Freshmen Chris O'Neill and Brett McIntosh have started all five events this season. In fact, U-M has used the same starting five in all five fall events -- O'Neill, McIntosh, Matt Alessi, Miguel Echavarria and Noori Hyun.

Brett McIntosh is the only left-handed golfer on the team.

• Michigan has been selected for NCAA Regional play the last five seasons.


Chris O'Neill
Glen Allen, Va.

On the start to his collegiate career and the successes he has had ... "It's been really cool. I got off to a bit of a rough start my first tournament but after that, I've seemed to settle down and being Big Ten Player of the Week was a very cool and neat experience as a freshman. I certainly wasn't expecting it last week, but it was nice."

On if he expected to have some early success ... "I think I did. I did have those goals and it's nice to accomplish one of them. I wouldn't say that I really thought it was going to happen. It was more of one of those hopeful kinds of things to come in and make an impact right away, but I'm glad it's happening."

On if the team is getting ready to break out with a strong performance ... "I think so. I think we've seen with our performance as guys have finished in the top 10 that it's just a matter of time before we all put it together as a team. With Matt (Alessi) and Miguel's (Echavarria) leadership, it's really helping the rest of the guys. I think we will put it together."

On the upcoming match play event at Cypress Point ... "It's such a unique opportunity to be playing that course. I've never been out there or anything but just looking at the pictures of the course, it looks amazing. Match play gives us a lot better chance to make upsets because the field is just unbelievable and everyone is ranked inside the top 20. We're going to have to really play well, but match play is something that anyone can win."

On if he wants to be the guy with the pressure putt to win ... "Absolutely, every time. I want the pressure right on my back. I absolutely love it. That's why I play."

On something we don't know about him ... "I'm a huge sports fan overall. I really love international soccer. If there's any sport on TV, I will always watch it over a regular TV show. Barcelona all the way and in the Premier League, I root for Tottenham."

On if he ever played soccer ... "I did and actually broke my collarbone last year playing soccer. I played travel soccer growing up until seventh grade."

On why he chose to play golf ... "I got hurt in seventh grade and had foot surgery. I couldn't run or do anything for an entire summer, so I played golf all summer. I just kind of fell in love with the sport."

On his competitive edge and fire ... "Absolutely. I played basketball too and I think I love golf more as a team sport. I love winning as a team and getting to compete with other people. It feels so much better when you win and do things well to have others to celebrate it with."

Highlighted with a career-best eighth-place individual finish from sophomore Noori Hyun, Michigan finished the Fightin' Irish Gridiron Classic with an 11th-place team finish following posting an 892 event total. During the event, U-M posted team rounds of 297, 296 and 299 at the Warren Golf Course. [ Recap ]

Fri-Sat., Feb. 8-9 -- at the Big Ten Match Play Championships (Bradenton, Fla.)
Sun-Tue., Feb. 17-19 -- at Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, P.R.)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423