Sep 6, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 2013-14 season gets underway this weekend for the Michigan State men's golf program. The third year under head coach Casey Lubahn tees off at the Gopher Invitational on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET. The two-day, 54-hole event is being played at Windsong Farm Golf Club (par 71; 7,152 yards) in Independence, Minn.
"This is an exciting time for our program as three freshmen will be playing in the first event of their careers this weekend," said Lubahn. "With six freshmen on our roster, we knew this was a possibility and these young men have proven themselves during fall qualifying. I am proud of the effort level we have seen the first couple weeks and it will be nice to test ourselves at a great event to start the year.
"Obviously, Mitch and Carson are going to be our leaders on the road as they know what to expect and will handle themselves well. We will focus on our routines, controlling the things we can, and working through adversity. If we do that, there is no reason we can't have success."
Three Spartans are making their collegiate debuts this weekend, as redshirt freshman Sean Friel, and true freshmen Charlie Netzel and Sam Weatherhead put on the green and white for the first time. Meanwhile, senior Carson Castellani and sophomore Mitch Rutledge return to the lineup, after competing in all 12 events last year.
Earlier this week, Castellani, Netzel and Rutledge were named Big Ten Men's Golfers to Watch for 2013-14.
The tournament field includes MSU and host Minnesota, along with Baylor, California, Central Arkansas, Iowa State, Kent State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Penn State, St. John's (Minn.) and Toledo.
Eight of the 12 teams in the field finished in the top-100 of the Golfstat final rankings last year, including No. 1 California and No. 5 New Mexico. The Bears placed first in the stroke play portion of the NCAA Championship, but fell in the semifinals of match play. The Lobos tied for sixth in stroke play and lost in the match play quarterfinals. Kent State also qualified to the 2013 NCAA Championship.
The Spartans return to the event for the first time since 2007, but it is the first time the tournament has been held at Windsong Farm. The course hosted the 2010 Big Ten Championship.