Sept. 24, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's golf team had its second straight impressive tournament, finishing second at the 2013 Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic on Tuesday in South Bend, Ind. The Spartans shot a 10-over par 862 (284-294-284) at the Warren Golf Course. Redshirt freshmen Sean Friel had his best performance in his young career, tying for fifth with a 2-under par 211 (73-70-68).
"It was a nice finish to our week," said Spartan head coach Casey Lubahn. "Sean (Friel) and Mitch (Rutledge) played beautifully, but the other three did not have their best day. It was important for us to gain confidence from our play over the past two week, but it is also important to note the things we need to work on in order to get better before Erin Hills in 10 days. All in all, Coach Winger and I are super proud of what this young group has done in the month of September."
After struggling in his collegiate debut at the beginning of the month, Friel has bounced back with consecutive top-10 finishes, following up last week's ninth-place finish at the Wolverine Intercollegiate with a fifth-place showing today. Friel's 54-hole total of 211 and his final round 3-under par 68, were both season lows. Today's round of 68 was also the second-lowest round in the field this week.
Today, Friel posted a double-bogey on his second hole, but went bogey-free the rest of the way, including posting five birdies, four of which were on the back nine. For the tournament, he tied for the team lead with 12 birdies, which was good for second in the field. Friel also led the tournament in par-5 scoring, going 7-under par on the three holes this week.
Sophomore Mitch Rutledge equaled Friel's round today with a 3-under par 68 to move up 14 spots on the leaderboard. Rutledge ended the tournament in a tie for 12th at 2-over par 215. Rutledge had six birdies in his round today. His 54-hole score was the second-best in his Spartan career.
Playing as an individual for the second-straight week, junior Jon Finley had his best finish of his career, tying for 12th with Rutledge at 2-over par 215 (78-68-69). Finley had a bogey-free round of 2-under par 69 today. He improved on his previous career-low tournament score by seven strokes.
Freshman Charlie Netzel had another solid performance this week, tying for 16th at 3-over par 216 (70-72-74). Netzel tied Friel for the team's birdie lead with 12.
Rounding out the Spartan lineup, senior Carson Castellani tied for 36th with a 10-over par 223 (71-78-74) and freshman Sam Weatherhead tied for 39th at 11-over par 224 (70-78-76). Castellani led the team with 38 pars this week, which tied for fourth overall in the tournament.
MSU matched their opening round tally with an even-par 284 on Tuesday. The Spartans' 54-hole total was the 16th-best in program history.
Houston finished first this week, shooting a tournament-record 5-under par 847. The Cougars' Kyle Pilgrim took home medalist honors at 5-under par 208.
After a weekend off, the Spartans return to the links on Oct. 6-8 for the Erin Hills Intercollegiate in Erin, Wis.