Feb. 18, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 18 Michigan State men's golf team opens its spring season at the Champions Golf Course in Houston, Texas, for the Green and White Alumni Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 19. The 18-hole exhibition contest matches current Spartans against alumni and serves as a warm-up for the team's opening tournament in the spring.
Thomas Ross, a three-year letterwinner at MSU (1982-1985), will host the team at the par-71, 7,220-yard Champions Course and will serve as the alumni team captain for the third consecutive year. The Champions Course is regarded as one of the country's most historic venues and has hosted the U.S. Open, Ryder Cup, the U.S. Amateur and THE TOUR Championship.
The Spartans begin the spring schedule atop the Midwest District standings, having won two tournaments in the fall and recording top-three finishes in each of their five tournaments. Michigan State's top six players will make the trip to Texas, hoping to carry their fall success into the spring season.
Senior Andrew Ruthkoski (Muskegon, Mich.) and sophomore Matt Harmon (Grand Rapids, Mich.) lead the Spartans into the spring season, as each finished the fall with three individual finishes in the top five. Ruthkoski's 71.79 scoring average is best on the team, while Harmon averaged 72.00 through the fall's five-tournament schedule.
Freshmen Ryan Brehm (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) and Brandon Cigna (Novi, Mich.) also made significant contributions to the team in the fall. Brehm played in all five tournaments, garnering three top-20 finishes and a scoring average of 72.92, third best on the team. Cigna made the most of his only tournament appearance, finishing in a tie for 19th at the Landfall Tradition, shooting 215 (71-73-71) in his first collegiate tournament.
Senior Jimmy Chestnut (Grand Blanc, Mich.) and sophomore Mitch Pierce (Fenton, Mich.) round out the Spartan lineup for this weekend's exhibition tournament. Chestnut played in all five fall tournaments, averaging 75.07 over 14 rounds of play. Pierce competed at four tournaments, with his highlight coming at the Adams Cup of Newport, where he finished in a tie for 19th, his first career top-20 finish.
After the exhibition competition, Michigan State returns to regular-season play on March 11-13, 2005, at the Alabama Spring Invitational for its first of six spring tournaments.