Sept. 22, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Riding the high of a tournament title last week in Ann Arbor, the Michigan State men's golf team heads to South Bend, Ind., on Monday to defend its title at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic. The Spartans begins play at Warren Golf Course (par-71, 7,023 yards) on Monday at 9 a.m. ET with 36 holes, and wrap up on Tuesday with 18 holes at 8:30 a.m. ET.
"We are working full steam ahead for Notre Dame and defending our title from there a year ago," said Spartan head coach Casey Lubahn. "Our guys have looked hungry this week after winning in Ann Arbor, and it is important that they understand we are only as strong as our next tournament, our next round, our next shot. I am confident they have their focus on playing well on a demanding golf course in South Bend.
"Anytime you return to a place you have had success, it is beneficial to have memories and feelings that can lead to positive thoughts. We can use our prior experiences to push through adversity this week and hopefully put ourselves in contention to have a good finish."
The Spartans will have the same competitive lineup for the third-straight week, including senior Carson Castellani, sophomore Mitch Rutledge, redshirt freshman Sean Friel, and freshmen Charlie Netzel and Sam Weatherhead. Junior Jon Finley will play playing as an individual.
Joining MSU and host Notre Dame in the field are College of Charleston, Davidson, Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Georgia Southern, Houston, Southern Mississippi, UT-Arlington, West Florida, Xavier and Yale.
Last week, the Spartans claimed their third tournament title in the last three years, topping the field at the Wolverine Intercollegiate by two shots. MSU shot a 1-under par 851, which was the sixth-lowest 54-hole score in program history. Three Spartans placed in the top-10, and none of the five finished worse than 21st. Rutledge tied for third with a career-best 3-under par 210, while Friel and Netzel tied for ninth.
Michigan State is the only two-time champion in the event history, having come home with the title in 2007 and 2012. Last year, the Spartans held off No. 38 Houston by one shot to finish at 17-over par 869 (287-282-300). Rutledge and Castellani both played in the 2012 event, as Rutledge tied for 21st (7-over par 220) and Castellani tied for 28th (9-over par 222).