INDEPENDENCE, Minnesota - The Michigan State men’s golf team placed sixth at the season-opening Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minnesota, on Monday. The Spartans shot a 17-over-par 869 (290-290-289) in the tournament that featured eight schools from last year’s NCAA Championships.
“We’re obviously not striving to finish sixth, but in this field, with a new lineup, I thought it was a pretty solid start to the year,” said MSU head coach Casey Lubahn. “I think we’re all kicking ourselves because we were a little sloppy today. But overall we were consistent and we’ll grow from this.”
Arkansas won the tournament (284-285-279—848), with by Baylor (283-287-288—858), 2017 NCAA champion Oklahoma (292-281-286—859), Kent State (293-291-276—860) and Pepperdine (293-290-283—866) rounding out the top five.
“I’d be shocked if some of the teams that finished ahead of us aren’t in the top 10 at the end of the season,” Lubahn said. “I’m excited because I saw some things starting in the practice round on Saturday that carried on through today indicating that we’re going to have a solid squad.”
The Spartans shot a 6-over-par 290 in Sunday’s opening round. The second round was halted late Sunday evening due to darkness and then completed on Monday as the Spartans fired an identical 290 in the middle round. MSU bettered its score by one stroke in the final round with a 5-over-par 289 on Monday afternoon.
Senior Michael Sharp led a trio of Spartans that placed in the top 22. Sharp finished with a 4-over-par 217 to tie for 18th place. After an opening round 1-over-par 72, he shot a 2-over-par 73 in round two and then a 1-over-par 72 in the final round. Sharp birdied three of the last seven holes in the final round.
Senior Charlie Green (72-75-71) and sophomore Andrew Walker (72-74-72) both posted 5-over-par 218s to tie for 22nd place. Both golfers registered an eagle in the final round, while Green’s even-par 71 was the top third-round score by a Spartan.
Sophomore Kaleb Johnson finished 8-over-par 221 (74-69-78) to take 42nd. His second-round 2-under-par 69 was team’s top score of the tournament.
Freshman James Piot finished his first collegiate tournament with a 10-over-par 223 (75-74-74).
The Gopher Individual tournament took place congruently with the Gopher Invitational and was played at Pioneer Creek Golf Club in Maple Plain. Freshman Zach Rosendale finished third with a 1-under-par 215 (70-68-77). His second-round 68 on Sunday afternoon was one of just three rounds in the 60s in the tournament.
“It was obviously pretty cool for them to get some experience against some elite players,” Lubahn said. “I was impressed with Zach; he will add to our depth and I think he’ll contribute to our lineup someday soon.”
The Spartans will be back in action at the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 18-19.