Feb. 7, 2012
Bradenton, Fla. - The Wisconsin men's golf team begins the spring season this Friday- Saturday, Feb. 10-11, at the Big Ten Match Play Championship. This will be the fourth year of the tournament. The event was founded by the collective group of conference of coaches to provide more match play opportunities for their teams in response to the NCAA Championship format change.
The Big Ten Conference was the first golf conference to start a match play tournament. The event was hosted at Heron Bay in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the first two seasons, then moved to the Champion Course at PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., site of the PGA Tours Honda Classic. This year it is at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Matches are set based on end-of-fall season rankings and a champion is named after two days of play. Each team match is comprised of six individual matches, each playing for one team point. Northwestern has won the tournament the past two years. Illinois is the top seed for 2012, while the Badgers have the 11th seed.
Playing for the Badgers are Anthony Aicher, Chris Meyer, Thomas O'Bryan, Thomas Welk, Brady Keegan and newcomer Zach Balit. Balit is one of the two Badgers who joined for the spring season. Aicher led the team in the fall, finishing highest in four of the five tournaments.
Last year, Wisconsin lost all three matches in the tournament. On the opening day, they fell to Indiana 6-0 and they were narrowly defeated by Penn State 3.5-2.5. On the second day, they lost in the consolation bracket to Michigan State 4.5-1.5.
Competition starts on Friday morning with four first-round matches, followed by four second-round contests that afternoon. The semifinals and consolation rounds will take place on Saturday morning, while the championship match, along with the third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches, will be played that afternoon. Matches will be made up of six individual head-to-head contests, with each competing for one team point.
Opening-round matches begin at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, with No. 8 Minnesota taking on No. 9 Michigan and No. 7 Northwestern playing No. 10 Penn State. The other two quarterfinal contests will tee off at 7 a.m. as No. 5 Michigan State squares off against No. 12 Nebraska and No. 6 Ohio State takes on No. 11 Wisconsin.
Live scoring will be available for the tournament here. Big Ten Network will also be airing the Big Ten Match Play Championship on March 11 at 11 a.m.