No. 29 Spartan Men’s Golf Captures Colleton River Collegiate Title
Michigan State wins an emotional tournament in honor of late Spartan Al Thiess.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men’s golf captured its third tournament title of the 2016-17 season by winning the fifth-annual MSU-hosted Colleton River Collegiate at the Colleton River Club in Bluffton, South Carolina.
The Spartans started the day in second place behind UAB, but rallied to capture the team title with a 20-over 884 (293-299-292). MSU’s third-round 292 was the lowest round of the day. The Spartans ended the day with three players in the top four.
This win was particularly special as Spartan Alum and tournament supporter Al Thiess passed away last month. The team was able to pass along the trophy to his widow, Willa.
“When we left on Friday, we, as a team, decided that we were going to go no matter what the circumstances were and win this tournament and give the trophy to Al’s widow, Willa. We just visualized it, and it is exactly how it played out. There was a lot of emotion for all of us, but this program has been success because of the people who believed in it, and Al was one of those key people,” MSU head coach Casey Lubahn said.
Senior Charlie Netzel earned his first medalist honor of the season with a clutch performance. Netzel started the day tied for 12th, but six birdies help propel him to the top of the leaderboard. He ended with a 1-over 217 (73-76-68). The third-round 68 was his fourth sub-70 round of the season.
“Charlie Netzel has been progressing all year; we knew his best golf was ahead of him. We have seen the difference in the level of intensity and leadership and in his preparation, especially in Sam’s (Weatherhead) absence he has been phenomenal. Today he was very, very clutch,” Lubahn added.
Freshman Kaleb Johnson continued his progression with his second top-three finish of the season, ending third with a 3-over 219 (69-71-71). Johnson added four birdies in the third round to move him up six spots from the conclusion of the second round.
Junior Michael Sharp finished where he ended the second round tied for fourth. Sharp completed the tournament with a 4-over 220 (73-72-75).
“This might be the most special win for me as a coach, as far as the circumstances the last couple weeks. I think this was a team culture win. Guys who have been in the seven, eight nine spot all year, stepping in and helping us win a big golf tournament. So, that speaks to the overall direction and atmosphere of the program. While we missed the guys that were injured, we just said all week ‘we are going to find a way.’ In the long run, our leaders came through and helped us find that opportunity to win on the last closing hole,” Lubahn said.
Redshirt junior Charlie Green finished tied for 41st with a 17-over 233 (78-73-82), while freshman Austin Jenner rounded out the Spartan quintet with a 20-over 236 (80-78-78), which was good for tying for 52nd.
Redshirt freshman Scott Dunsire, playing as an individual, finished tied for 50th with a 19-over 235 (79-78-78). Returning to action after an injury, sophomore Dylan Deogun also played as an individual, finishing tied for 61st with a score of 24-over 240 (84-81-75). He improved on each round of the tournament.
The Spartans will remain in the Palmetto State to participate in the Chechessee Creek Club Dual against Big Ten Rival Iowa in Okatie, South Carolina, on Sunday, March 12.