March 3, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men's golf freshman Charlie Netzel claimed his first collegiate victory on Monday at the Colleton River Collegiate, hosted by the Spartans at Colleton River Plantation Club's Pete Dye Course in Bluffton, S.C. As a team, the Spartans placed third with a 12-over par 876 (302-284-290), only two shots out of first.
"Obviously it hurts to lose by such a small margin, but we played quite well in the last 36 holes to put ourselves back in a position to win," said Spartan head coach Casey Lubahn. "I am proud of the guys. The lessons going forward are really simple. We felt like we had a chance to win going into the Big Ten Match Play Championship and here. We just need to keep our focus for the entire 54 holes going forward.
"It is a great sign of things to come with a freshman capturing the individual title. Charlie has worked incredibly hard over the holiday break and in the spring to get to this point. His hard work is definitely paying off."
Michigan State posted the best two team scores in the second and third rounds to climb back into contention. Winthrop, who shot a 10-over par 874, came from behind today to jump past No. 40 Kennesaw State and win by one shot.
Netzel finished tied with Winthrop's Zach Seabolt for first at 1-under par 215, and ended up winning in a scorecard playoff. Netzel (78-67-70), like the rest of his team, struggled out of the gate, bogeying six of his first 10 holes, but would be 7-under par over his final 44 holes. He ended up tied for fifth in the field with 11 birdies for the tournament. Netzel was also tied for first in par-4 scoring (1-over) and tied for third in par-5 scoring (4-under).
In addition to Netzel, three other Spartans finished in the top-10. Freshman Gareth Lappin, making his stroke play tournament debut for MSU, tied for fourth at 3-over par 219 (75-72-72). Sophomore Mitch Rutledge was a stroke back to tie for sixth at 4-over par 220 (74-73-73). Junior Jon Finley shot a 6-over par 222 (75-72-75), tying for 10th, which was his best career finish. Rutledge tied for the tournament high with 39 pars, while Finley led the team and was second in the field with 12 birdies. Finley and Lappin equaled Netzel's par-5 scoring of 4-under par.
Playing as individuals, senior Carson Castellani (75-76-76) and freshman Sean Friel (79-73-75) tied for 27th with scores of 11-over par 227. Castellani was fifth in the field with 37 pars and led the team in par-3 scoring at even par. Senior Gareth Blease was 52nd at 34-over par 250 (81-91-78).
"Colleton River is an amazing venue for college golf," added Lubahn. "Michigan State is honored to hosts this event here, but would not have been able to without the support of Spartan alums Al and Willa Thiess. "
The Spartans continue the spring season on March 22-23 at the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga.