May 6, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State hosts the Big Ten Mens Golf Championship for the fifth time in the events 79 years May 8-10 at Forest Akers West Course.
The 7,003-yard, par-72 course last welcomed the event in 1986. The 11 Big Ten teams converge on East Lansing for four rounds of action, beginning with two rounds Friday. Competition continues with 18 holes each on Saturday and Sunday.
Ohio State enters the 1998 Big Ten Mens Golf Championship in search of its fourth consecutive title, a streak which would rival the Buckeyes run of six straight championships in the 1980s. Ten schools are close on Ohio States heels, however, and will look to unseat the reigning champions.
Michigan State, which won its only Big Ten championship on home turf in 1969, expects to improve upon last seasons 11th-place finish. The Spartans are led by senior John Ehrgotts 74.3 stroke average, but their biggest strength heading into the weekend is their depth. Four different players have led Michigan State at each of its last four tournaments, and five players in that time have produced rounds of 72 or better.
"You only have the opportunity to host Big Tens once every 11 years," head coach Ken Horvath said. "Its really a blessing. That should be a big positive for us. No one should know the course as well as we will."
Last year in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State held off a Saturday and Sunday surge by Northwestern after sharing the two-round lead with Michigan. Northwesterns Saturday and Sunday rounds of 293 and 290, respectively, pulled the Wildcats within two strokes of the title.
Ohio State once again looks to have the inside track in the run for the title, despite the loss of Chris Wollman, the 1997 Les Bolstad Award winner for the low season stroke average. Four Buckeyes ranked in the conferences top 11 in stroke average heading into the seasons stretch run, led by senior Ryan Armour. Armour, who finished in a tie for 18th at the championship last year, boasted a 72.4 stroke average through 21 rounds this season.
Despite Ohio States strength, several teams have strong shots at an upset based upon the mid-April conference leaders in stroke average. They include: Minnesota, which boasts three golfers in the top 10 in stroke average; Michigan, which lost last years medalist but returns the conferences No. 2 golfer this year in Michael Harris; and Indiana, which is led by last seasons Big Ten Player of the Year Randy Leen.
1997 BIG TEN MENS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM STANDINGS
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total 1. Ohio State 296 294 296 299 1185 2. Northwestern 303 301 293 290 1187 3. Michigan 300 290 302 301 1193 4. Indiana 301 306 308 297 1212 5. Minnesota 302 307 302 302 1213 6. Iowa 315 310 296 293 1214 7. Wisconsin 314 314 303 299 1230 8. Purdue 307 305 303 316 1231 9. Illinois 308 320 306 306 1240 10. Penn State 312 315 307 308 1242 11. Michigan State 306 313 307 317 1243
1998 BIG TEN MENS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
FOREST AKERS WEST EAST LANSING, MICH.
Friday, May 8 (36 holes) 8 a.m. First round 12:30 p.m. Second round
Saturday, May 9 (18 holes) 9 a.m. Third round
Sunday, May 10 (18 holes) 8 a.m. Final round Following Awards Ceremony competition
Host Michigan State Univ.
Dates May 8-9-10
Course Forest Akers West
Location East Lansing, Mich.
Defending Ohio State champion