April 11, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After two weeks off from competition, the Michigan State men's golf team will tee it up at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational this weekend in Iowa City, Iowa. The tournament, hosted at Finkbine Golf Course (7,239 yards, par 72), will start on both Saturday (36 holes) and Sunday (18 holes) with a 10 a.m. ET shotgun start.
"Iowa has a classic parkland golf course much like Forest Akers West, so I expect us to be comfortable," said Spartan head coach Casey Lubahn. "We have had some great play this week in a very competitive qualifier and this will be a new lineup for us. We are energized and chomping at the bit to get back into action."
The lineup that Lubahn mentioned includes senior Gareth Blease, junior Jon Finley, sophomore Mitch Rutledge, and freshmen Charlie Netzel and Sean Friel. It is the first time that these five have played together.
The 12-team field includes Denver, DePaul, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Washington State and Wisconsin.
Rutledge and Netzel will be the only two Michigan State golfers to have appeared in every event this season. Both lead the team with three top-20 and two top-10 showings, while Rutledge leads the Spartans with a 74.42 scoring average. Friel returns to the competitive lineup for the first time since the end of the fall semester, where he had two top-10 finishes. Meanwhile, Finley is making his fifth-straight start, including a top-10 in the beginning of March at Colleton River, and Blease is in the lineup for just the second time in stroke play this season.
Rutledge is the only Spartan who has experience in this event, as he placed 64th last season, as MSU finished 10th as a team. It is the third-straight season that the Spartans have traveled to Iowa City, also placing eighth in 2012.