The Michigan State men’s golf season came to an end on Sunday, May 4 when the Spartans tied for seventh place at the Big Ten Championships in French Lick, Ind.
Michigan State shot their best round of the tournament on Sunday, an 11-over-par 299, but it was not enough to come back. The Spartans shot a 1212 (303-307-303-299) over the four rounds, as they posted the second-lowest mark of the third round, 303, just two shots behind the eventual champions, Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Spartans were led by sophomore Mitch Rutledge, who has been a big part in carrying the team the whole season. Rutledge shot a team best 11-over par 299 over the four days, and finished in seventh place individually for the tournament.
Rutledge was not alone in having a memorable weekend, as freshman Gareth Lappin shot a personal best 71 in his final round to finish at 12th individually for the tournament. These finishes by Rutledge and Lappin made them the first pair of Spartans to finish in the top 15 at the Big Ten Championships since 2008.
However, some untimely miscues on Sunday were the reason the Spartans were never able to make it over the hump and shoot up the leaderboard. Rutledge bogied his final three holes of the tournament, Lappin bogied 18, and senior Gareth Blease bogied or double bogied five of his last 11 holes, leaving the Spartans on the outside looking in.
Blease was not the only Spartan senior to be left disappointed in his final round. Carson Castellani, a walk on from Okemos, Mich., was shooting a two-under-par through 13 holes on the final day. After that, Castenelli was unable to find any consistency with any club as he bogied his final five holes of his career, finishing the day at a 3-over-par 75.
The Spartans’ season did not end the way they had in mind, but there is room for improvement. While losing two seniors is difficult to replace, a lot of the production in the lineup has come from the younger athletes like Rutledge and Lappin.
With two top 12 individual finishers in the Big Ten Championships coming back, and a more experienced 3-4-5 combination behind them, the Spartans will enter the 2014-2015 season with high expectations.
Anthony Garcia is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Michigan State University Men’s Golf