Week #5: U-M to Close Fall Schedule at Bridgestone Golf Collegiate
Matt Thompson

Oct. 25, 2011

Sat-Sun., Oct. 29-30 -- at Bridgestone Golf Collegiate (Greensboro, N.C.)
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Next on the Tee
The University of Michigan men's golf team closes out its fall season Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 29-30), heading to Greensboro, N.C., for the 2011 Bridgestone Golf Collegiate at the Forest Oaks Country Club. The event will have 15 teams playing 54 holes in the two-day tournament. Scoring will be five players; count the low four scores each round. Forest Oaks will be set up for a par 72 and 7,212 yards. This is the seventh annual Bridgestone event.

The Tournament Field
There will be 15 schools participating in the 2011 Bridgestone Golf Collegiate: Iowa State, Georgia State, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Pepperdine, Purdue, South Carolina, Toledo, UNC Greensboro, VCU and Virginia Tech.

The Tournament Schedule
Friday, Oct. 28 -- Practice Round, tee times at 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 29-- First Round (18), shotgun at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 29 -- Second Round (18), continuous play following first round
Sunday, Oct. 30 -- Third Round (18), tee times at 8:30 a.m. off No. 1 and 10

First Day Pairings
UNC Greensboro, North Carolina, Purdue
Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth, Ole Miss
Mississippi State, Pepperdine, N.C. State
Virginia Tech, Iowa State, Toledo
Georgia State, Kentucky, South Carolina

The Tournament Lineup
Michigan will bring a five-member starting lineup to the Bridgestone. Playing for the Wolverines 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).

What a Way to Close the Fall Season
For the last three years, Michigan has closed its fall season and has continued to finish on a high note. The Wolverines have posted three straight top-four team finishes -- 4th (2010), 3rd (2008 & 2009). In fact, U-M set the school record for the lowest team single-round score with a 13-under 275 in the second round last year at Bridgestone. Among U-M's top 10 lowest 54-hole team tournament totals, the Bridgestone has two entries -- 21-under 843 (4th all-time) and 11-under 853 (t-8th all-time).

Michigan at the Bridgestone
2010: 4th (279-275-289/843, -21)
2009: 3rd (283-277-293/853, -11)
2008: 3rd (293-282-299/874, +10)

Matt Thompson
2010: 6th (70-66-71/207, -9)
2009: t-10th (73-67-71/211, -5)
2008: t-37th (78-72-75/225), played as individual

Jack Schultz
2010: t-30th (73-70-74/217, +1)
2009: t-10th (66-69-76/211, -5)

Rahul Bakshi
2009: t-40th (74-72-76/222)

Miguel Echavarria
2010: t-68th (75-76-76/227)

We Meet for the Third Time
When Michigan heads to the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate, it will mark the third time this season the Wolverines will play against former head coach Andrew Sapp and his North Carolina Tar Heels. So far this season, the series is split at 1-1. Sapp, originally from Chapel Hill, N.C., took over his alma mater after having coached with the Wolverines for nine years (2003-11).

Finally Getting That First
Matt Thompson earned U-M's 39th career medalist honor with his victory at the Windon Memorial Classic. It was the first in his collegiate career. Birdieing three of his final four holes, he tied a career best with a five-under 65 in the final round to win by three shots with a career-best five-under 205 (69-71-65). The win helped U-M to back-to-back individual winners at Northwestern's fall event. Last year, former Wolverine Lion Kim (2008-11) took medalist honors with a six-under 206 (69-71-67).

Fun Fact: Thompson at the Windon
In four Windon Memorial Classics, Matt Thompson did not finish outside the top 20 individually. He won the event in 2011, tied for 19th in 2010, tied 20th in 2009 and closed 18th as an individual in 2008.

Thompson Named Big Ten Golfer of the Week
After winning medalist for the first time in his career, Matt Thompson was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week. It was the first time Thompson has received the award, and he is the first Wolverine to win the accolade since 2008 (Lion Kim).

Win Produces Historic Marks
Matt Thompson's 205 at the Windon Memorial Classic was the second-lowest 54-hole event total in U-M history. Three Wolverines have shot a 205 -- Thompson (2011 Windon Memorial Classic & 2009 Wolf Run Intercollegiate), Lion Kim (2011 NCAA Central Regional) and Christian Vozza (2005 Wolverine Intercollegiate). Bill Rankin holds the U-M record with a 202 at the 2008 Maxwell. In addition, Thompson's final round 65 was the second-lowest individual round in U-M history. Three players shot 65 -- Thompson (2010 & 2011), Lion Kim (2010 & 2011) and Ed Humenik (1982). Three Wolverines have shot a U-M-record 64 -- Bill Rankin (2008), Christian Vozza (2005) and Michael Harris (1998).

Eying Another Career Best, Perhaps
Jack Schultz tied his career best with his four-under 66 in the second round of the Windon Memorial Classic. Schultz set the career mark with a six-under 66 in the first round at the 2009 Bridgestone Intercollegiate, which the Wolverines play in this weekend.

Making the Most of Opportunity
After being selected to the team following his walk-on tryout in early September, all Matt Alessi has done is start all five fall events, lead the Wolverines in one of those events and post an average of 75.70, including a season-best 72 in the first round of the Windon Memorial Classic.

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.

The First Stage of Moving In
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 have begun to practice inside and will move offices at the completion of their respective fall seasons. 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.

Fri-Sat., Feb. 10-11 -- at Big Ten Match Play Championship (Bradenton, Fla.)
Sun-Tue., Feb. 19-21 -- at Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico)

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423