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Men's Golf Opens 2014 Big Ten Match Play Championship

Senior Gareth Blease, who was playing in his third Big Ten Match Play Championship, went 2-0 on Friday.

Feb. 14, 2014

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Michigan State men's golf team returned to action on Friday after the winter break at the 2014 Big Ten Match Play Championship held at The Concession Golf Club (par-72, 7,177-yards) in Bradenton, Fla. The Spartans, the event's No. 9 seed, went 1-1 on the opening day, falling 3-2 to Michigan in the morning match and defeating Penn State 4-1 in the afternoon.

On Saturday, the Spartans will face Wisconsin at 8:50 a.m. ET.

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"It was an interesting day for us," said Spartan head coach Casey Lubahn. "We lost a heartbreaker this morning and played solid this afternoon. I was proud of the bounce back and look forward to putting together one more good round tomorrow.

"Gareth and Gareth were both locked in throughout the day and had some great results to show for it. They are both going to be great additions to our lineup this spring."

In the morning, the first round match against No. 8 seed Michigan went down to the final couple holes. The Spartans picked up victories from Gareth Blease (4&3) and Gareth Lappin (5&4) in the fourth and fifth spots, but dropped matches at the first (Mitch Rutledge) and second (Carson Castellani) slots, setting up the third-seed dual to decide the outcome.

Charlie Netzel and Reed Hrynewich were all-square after 13 holes, but Hrynewich won the 14th hole to go 1-up. After two halved holes, Netzel birdied the 17th hole to get back even, but a birdie by Hrynewich on the 18th gave the Wolverines the victory.



In his Spartan debut, Lappin was 2-under in his 14 holes against Michigan, including birdies on three of his last five holes, en route to his 5&4 victory.

In the consolation bracket, Michigan State came out and played more quality golf, cruising to a 4-1 victory over No. 10 seed Penn State. Both Blease (4&3) and Lappin (4&2) picked up their second wins of the day in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively, to get the Spartans started. Netzel, who lost the crucial match earlier in the day, bounced back to pick up a 5&4 win. Meanwhile, Rutledge was victorious in the top spot at 5&4.

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