BRADENTON, Fla. – Despite entering the 2013 Big Ten Match Play Championship as the No. 7 seed, the Michigan State men’s golf team advanced to the championship match before falling to No. 1-seed Illinois. After two wins yesterday, the Spartans topped No.3 Iowa, 3-2, Saturday morning at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., to advance to the finals.
It was the best finish by the Spartans in the five-year event.
“Overall it was a good program building week for us,” said head coach Casey Lubahn. “The guys stuck together, fought hard and believed in themselves. It will be something to build off of the rest of the spring.
“To beat quality programs like Penn State, Northwestern and Iowa will help us, and facing a team like Illinois gives up a glimpse of what we will need to do come April. I am proud of everyone; all six guys contributed in one way or another.”
In the semifinals, Michigan State dropped Iowa, 3-2. Seniors Dan Ellis and Matthew Moseley, and junior Carson Castellani picked up the wins for the Spartans.
Moseley took out Steven Ihm, 4&3 in the No. 1 spot. Moseley lost the first hole, but bounced back to win the next two holes and did not trail the rest of the way. Meanwhile at No. 3, Ellis won the first two holes and three of the first four and never looked back against Ian Vandersee, winning 6&5. Castellani picked up a 3&1 win over Brian Bullington in the fourth spot. Castellani never trailed in the match, and at one point in the middle, won four-straight holes to go up five.
Illinois, the No. 1 seed in the event and the No. 17 team in the country by Golfstat, cruised past the Spartans in the final, 5-0. In their three matches this weekend, the Illini did not lose an individual match, going 14-0-1 overall.
Ellis and Moseley went 3-1 over the course of the two days, while junior Gareth Blease went 2-1, Castellani went 2-2, freshman Mitch Rutledge posted a 1-3 mark and senior Dave Ellis dropped his lone match of the day in the championship bout.
Yesterday, MSU topped Penn State, 4-1 in the opening round, before knocking off three-time defending champion and No. 2-seed Northwestern, 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
The event will be broadcast on Big Ten Network on tape delay, airing on Sunday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. ET.