Ito Leads U-M to Record Final Round at Fighting Irish Classic
With three sub-par rounds and a near U-M record 64 (-7) from junior Brent Ito, Michigan posted a Maize and Blue record 267 (-17) team tally to finish eighth with an 845 54-hole total at Notre Dame's Fighting Irish Classic.
» Using 31 birdies and an eagle, U-M's 267 (-17) in the final round lowered the team record by three shots -- 270 (-14), final round of the 2016 Inverness Intercollegiate (Sept. 19-20).
» With a bogey-free, seven birdie and 11 par final round, Ito's 64 (-7) tied U-M's second-lowest round in program history and guided him to his first career top 20 as he tied for 15th with a career-best 207 (-6).
» Sophomore Charlie Pilon (10 birdies) and senior Nick Carlson (six birdies) were also both on pace to set the all-time U-M record, but closed with a 65 (-6) and 67 (-4), respectively, in the final round.
» After a slow start, U-M jumped three spots on the final day to earn the top 10 finish.
Site: South Bend, Ind.
Tournament: Fighting Irish Classic (Day 2 of 2)
Course: Warren Golf Course (Par 71, 7,020 yards)
U-M Team Standing: 8th Place of 15 Teams (293-285-267/845, -7)
Top U-M Individual: Brent Ito, 16th (75-68-64/207, -6)
Next U-M Event: Mon-Tue., Oct. 22-23 -- Royal Oaks Intercollegiate (Dallas, Texas)
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- With three individual sub-par final round tallies led by junior Brent Ito's career-best 64 (-7), the University of Michigan men's golf team posted a U-M record-breaking 267 (-17) final round today (Monday, Oct. 8) to move up three positions and finish eighth at 845 (-7) in Notre Dame's Fight Irish Classic held at the Warren Golf Course.
"When we got here, the course was set up for some gettable scores," said U-M head coach Chris Whitten. "Yesterday, we weren't playing bad at all really, we may have just been a few feet away here and missed that one shot there. We just fell behind and had to climb back in it. Today, momentum can be a crazy thing. We just used it to really put together a great closing round."
After opening with a 293 and following with a 285 in Sunday's 36-hole day, the Wolverines found themselves tied for 11th with a 578 total. After tallying 29 birdies in the first 36 holes, the Wolverines recorded 31 birdies and an eagle -- from Henry Spring on his opening hole of the final round -- in the final round en route to the record-breaking tall.
With Spring's opening eagle -- driver, 8-iron from 173 and draining a 30-foot putt -- and the remaining four starters all birdieing the 10th hole, the Wolverines found themselves five-under on the first hole and 12-under after just six holes.
Feeding off that momentum, the Maize and Blue would reach as low as 22-under par before winds hampered the final two holes as the Wolverines went seven-over and settled for a closing 267 (-17) -- still posting the day's top round and lowering the program record by three strokes. With that tally, U-M moved up three spots closing eighth with an 845 (-7) performance.
Getting to that record round was thanks in part to the Maize and Blue trio of Ito, sophomore Charlie Pilon and senior Nick Carlson -- who posted 23 of the round's 31 birdies. With a bogey free, seven birdie, 11 par and 24 putt day, Ito led U-M's closing charge as he tied U-M's second-lowest round in program history with a 64 (-7) -- three shots better than his prior best -- 67 (-5) carded in the second round of the 2018 Big Ten Championships (April 27-29).
After he opened with a 75, Ito rallied in the second round Sunday with his third career sub-70 round of 68 (-3) to close the first day with momentum. Combining those scores with his 64 today, Ito etched his first career top 20 finish, tying for 15th with a career-best 207 (-6) 54-hole total -- 10 shots better than his 217 at the conference championships.
"Honestly, today was really nothing special," said Ito of his near record round. "I just hit it really well. I played a boring game and made some putts in between. I had only one poor drive where I was put out of position and I had to make a miracle up and down. Since it was blemish free and my first time shooting under 66, it is pretty cool. So, I am excited to aim for something even lower knowing the bar has been set."
"The good scores for Brent all get set up with his putting," said Whitten. "He has really worked on his close range putting and he has become one of our best guys from that range. When he starts hitting good shots, he is able to keep it going for a pretty long time. It didn't surprise me. He is good enough to shot rounds like this frequently. It's great to see it happen for him."
In addition to Ito's record performance, Pilon and Carlson each tied for 26th with 211 (-2) scores. After back-to-back 73s to start his tournament, Pilon was found himself nine-under par with four holes left. Missing his par putt on No. 8 and overshooting the final green, he dropped three strokes but still posted a career-best 65 (-6) and helping him lower his career-best 54-hole tournament total by a shot.
Carlson used his experience to post back-to-back 72s to begin play in South Bend and closed with his third sub-70 round of the season at 67 (-4) giving him a season-low 211. Rounding out the starting five, Spring tied for 53rd at 217 (73-73-71), while freshman Patrick Sullivan tied for 68th at 221 (75-72-74).
The Wolverines will wrap up their fall season for a fifth straight year heading to Baylor's Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 23-24) at the Royal Oaks Country Club. In a unique format with all five starters playing the same hole together, U-M will look to finish among the top five for a third straight year -- fifth (2017) and third (2016).
Final Team Standings
1. Illinois 270-268-270 = 808 (-44)
2. Georgia Southern 266-277-275 = 818
3. North Carolina 270-280-271 = 821
4. Iowa 277-279-277 = 833
5. Notre Dame 279-277-282 = 838
6. Wisconsin 283-277-281 = 841
Iowa State 278-275-288 = 841
8. MICHIGAN 293-285-267 = 845
9. Michigan State 280-287-283 = 850
10. Northern Illinois 289-280-282 = 851
Southern Illinois 289-279-283 = 851
12. South Alabama 296-282-277 = 855
13. Miami (Ohio) 286-293-280 = 859
14. Nebraska 287-292-292 = 871
15. Toledo 295-286-292 = 873
1. Steven Fisk, Georgia Southern 64-69-65 = 198 (-15)
2. Ryan Gerard, North Carolina 65-73-61 = 199
3. John Felitto, Notre Dame 64-66-70 = 200*
4. Giovanni Tadiotto, Illinois 68-67-66 = 201
Bryan Baumgarten, Illinois 67-65-69 = 201
6. Michael Feagles, Illinois 68-68-66 = 202
7. Lachlan Barker, Iowa State 65-68-70 = 203
Ryan Burnett, North Carolina 68-67-68 = 203
Alex Schaake, Iowa 69-67-67 = 203
Other Michigan Individuals
T15. Brent Ito 75-68-64 = 207 (-6)
T26. Charlie Pilon 73-73-65 = 211 (-2)
T26. Nick Carlson 72-72-67 = 211 (-2)
T53. Henry Spring 73-73-71 = 217
T68. Patrick Sullivan 75-72-74 = 221
* played as individual