Feb. 13, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After a long winter off from competition, the Michigan State men's golf team heads down to Bradenton, Fla., for the 2014 Big Ten Match Play Championship this weekend. The two-day event will be held at The Concession Golf Club (par-72, 7,177-yards). The Spartans are the No. 9-seed and open Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. against No. 8-seed Michigan.
"We are very excited to get back into action at the Big Ten Match Play Championship this week at Concession Golf Club," said Spartan head coach Casey Lubahn. "Concession is a great venue for match play and our guys have worked diligently to prepare for the challenges the course provides. This event is a great showcase for the league and provides a preview to the championships in May. It is important we get ready to compete on every shot."
The Spartans will begin competition with a lineup of sophomore Mitch Rutledge, senior Carson Castellani, freshman Charlie Netzel, senior Gareth Blease and freshman Gareth Lappin. Junior Jon Finley is an alternate this weekend for MSU.
If the Spartans advance, they will face top-seeded and defending champion Illinois in the afternoon, beginning at 12 p.m. ET. A loss will drop MSU into the consolation bracket which begins at 1:20 p.m.
Blease, Castellani and Rutledge all have Big Ten Match Play experience. Blease has competed in the 2011 and 2013 championships, going 2-1 each season, while Castellani (2-2) and Rutledge (1-3) played last year for the first time.
Last season, Michigan State made an impressive run to the championship match, despite entering as the No. 7 seed. In the opening day, the Spartans posted 4-1 victories over Penn State and three-time defending champions Northwestern. MSU opened the final day with a 3-2 win over third-seeded Iowa, before eventually succumbing to No. 1 Illinois.
The Spartans finished the fall season with two top-2 finishes including winning the Wolverine Intercollegiate. Six different MSU golfers posted top-20 individual finishes in the fall, led by a third-place showing by Rutledge at Michigan in September.
The event will be broadcast on Big Ten Network on tape delay, airing on Sunday, March 16.