July 25, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Spartans won a couple of close matches early and then secured three other early points to capture a second straight #B1GADgolf Challenge between Michigan State and Michigan at the U-M Golf Course Tuesday afternoon. The event featured nine head-to-matches between athletic directors, men's and women's golf coaches, former men's and women's players, team radio announcers and university professors in the second year of the annual event. MSU won the event by the final score of 5.5-3.5, retaining the traveling trophy, which the winning team members etched their name in after the round.
"The #B1GADGolf Challenge is an opportunity during the summer to feature the value that intercollegiate athletics has for our State and the respective institutions," said MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis. "Regardless of the sport, athletic competition between our two schools is intense. It was no different on the golf course on Tuesday. However, what is important is to recognize the collaboration and goodwill that extends between these two outstanding athletic departments during both the planning and competition of the event. It is symbolic of the collaboration between our two institutions, led by President (Mary Sue) Coleman and President (Lou Anna K.) Simon, in science, research and other academic endeavors.
"(U-M Athletics Director) Dave Brandon and his entire staff presented a great event and amazing hospitality. It was an opportunity to bring together ADs, coaches, former student-athletes, broadcasters and faculty for competition and friendship. Our Spartans appreciated all the support of those that ran the event and came out to watch. We are looking forward to hosting the 3rd edition at yet another location within the State of Michigan."
The first two matches of the day proved to be the most tightly contested. In the first match, Hollis faced Brandon. It was a back and forth event, where 11 of the 18 holes were won by one of the two golfers, although neither competitor ever lead by more than one hole. Brandon appeared to be in control late, winning the 16th hole to go 1-up. But Hollis immediately bounced back, hitting his approach on No. 17 to 15 feet and two-putting for par to take the hole.
Although the 18th hole was not a thing of beauty, it was competitive. Hollis hit his second shot into the water, and after a penalty stroke, his approach (4th shot) landed short of the green. Brandon hit his tee shot into the trees left and was forced to chip out. His approach (3rd shot) also landed short of the green. Hollis chipped on to within 12 feet, while Brandon's chip came to rest on a mound about 25 feet above the hole. His downhill putt caught a piece of the hole, but slid about three feet past the cup, leaving a tester for double bogey. Hollis then calmed his nerves enough to make his 12-footer for double bogey. When Brandon's comebacker lipped out, MSU won the first point of the match.
The second match of the afternoon featured the men's golf coaches, as MSU's Casey Lubahn faced U-M's Chris Whitten. This also was a back-and-forth affair as Lubahn led 2-up after the 7th hole, only to see Whitten rally to go 2-up after the 14th. But back-to-back bogeys by Whitten on 15 and 16 squared the match with two to play. Both players parred the final two holes to send the match into extra holes. On the first playoff hole, Lubahn was hole high in the rough in two on the par-5, while Whitten was on the back of the green in two. Lubahn's chip went long, forcing a two putt for par. Whitten's first putt left him with just a few feet for the win, but that also missed, extending the match another hole. On the second extra hole, Lubahn made a 12-foot birdie to win the match and give the Spartans a critical point.
That match proved to be critical because while it was going to extra holes, several other matches were closing out at the same time. MSU women's coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll won the second hole of the day and led for the remainder of the afternoon, defeating U-M's Cheryl Stacy, 3 & 2.
In the former players' matches, former Spartan Ryan Brehm won three of the first six holes against Andy Matthews, but Matthews won three straight to square the match at the turn. Brehm responded with birdies on 10 and 11 to take a two hole advantage, eventually winning, 3 & 1. That point proved to be the event-clinching point, because just moments earlier, Ryan's sister Natalie closed out Elaine Crosby, 4 & 3. Natalie won six of the first eight holes and never led by fewer than four after that. The points by the Brehm siblings gave MSU five on the day, enough to retain the trophy.
Former Spartan Jack Newman led 1-up after eight holes, but Matt Thompson won three of the next four holes and would claim a 3 & 2 victory. MSU's Sara Brown was 2-up after four holes, but Ashley Bauer responded with a strong back nine and won the point for the Wolverines, 4 & 3.
In a match between football team radio announcers, Michigan's Frank Beckman defeated MSU's Jim Miller, 7 & 5. The final match featured professors from both universities, as MSU's Trey Rogers, Professor of Turfgrass Management in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, faced U-M's Thad Polk, a professor in the Department of Psychology. With the team match already decided, both competitors agreed to abandon the match and split the point.