Feb. 8, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's golf team had an impressive opening day of the 2013 Big Ten Match Play Championship on Friday, knocking off Penn State and Northwestern, both by 4-1 scores. The Spartans will face Iowa in the semifinals tomorrow beginning at 8:08 a.m. at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
"Today was a day we grew up as a team," said head coach Casey Lubahn. "It was accumulation of a month of focus and dedication. We put it all in play today and got two wins."
In the first match of the day, Michigan State, the No. 7 seed, cruised past Penn State, 4-1. Senior Matthew Moseley never trailed en route to a 4&2 victory over Jens Talbert in the No. 1 spot.
Freshman Mitch Rutledge, senior Dan Ellis and junior Gareth Blease all won 2&1 in the morning session. Rutledge also never trailed in the No. 2 spot against Anthony DeGol, while Ellis lost the first hole to Jay Woodward, but bounced back to win the next three holes and take control of the match.
Blease had a rollercoaster match against Xander McDonald-Smith in the fifth spot. McDonald-Smith won the first hole, but Blease followed by winning the next seven holes to go 6-up. After a halved hole, McDonald-Smith won the next five holes to close within one, but Blease won two of the last three holes for the victory.
"Any time you beat a team like Northwestern, the three-time defending champion in the event, you need to do things well," added Lubahn. "Carson, Gareth, Dan and Matt all finished the round well to pick up the wins. We look for more of the same tomorrow."
The Spartans knocked off the three-time defending Big Ten Match Play Champions in the quarterfinals, posting a 4-1 victory over Northwestern in afternoon play. Moseley, Ellis, junior Carson Castellani and Blease all picked up wins.
Moseley won 2&1 against Nick Losole, III in the first spot. Moseley was down two through the first 10 holes, but won his next three holes and eventually closed it out with a par on his 17th hole. Ellis did not trail in his afternoon 3&2 victory over Bennett Lavin, and closed out the match with birdies on his final two holes.
Castellani gathered his first win of the day, a 2&1 victory over Andrew Whalen. Castellani won the first two holes, but Whalen would come back to tie the match through 15 holes, but Castellani bounced back win the 16th and 17th holes of the afternoon with pars. Blease stayed perfect on the day with a 1-up win over Matthew Negri. Blease needed a comeback as he trailed by one with three holes to play, and ended posting birdies on his next two holes and closed it out with a par on the final hole.