Spartans Finish NCAA Columbus Regional in Seventh Place
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Michigan State men’s golf team’s season came to an end on Wednesday in the third round of the NCAA Columbus Regional. The Spartans shot a 7-over-par 291 in the final round at the OSU Scarlet Course and finished in seventh place at 32-over-par 884 (303-290-291), just two spots out of the qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
MSU finished ahead of three teams in the Golfstat top 50, while No. 1 ranked Oklahoma State won the regional at 8-under-par 844. Illinois (even-par 852), UNLV (15-over-par 867), Northwestern (16-over-par 868) and Texas Tech (18-over-par 870) completed the top five as those teams will now move on to the national championships, May 25-30.
The Spartans began their day by completing round two, which was halted Tuesday evening due to lightning. MSU’s second round 6-over-par 290 bumped the Spartans up three spots into seventh heading into the start of the final round.
“This team doesn’t know how to quit – it’s amazing,” MSU head coach Casey Lubahn said. “To be in the 12th fairway in the final round with a legitimate chance to make the NCAA Championships cut is a testament to this team and I’m incredibly proud of them. There are some things we need to clean up to be where we want to be, but today was about sending out two great seniors the right way.”
The Spartans’ seventh place finish was the program’s best ever at an NCAA Regional, while the 884 was their lowest regional score since 2008 (851).
Senior Michael Sharp and sophomore Kaleb Johnson, who were the Spartans’ top finishers on five occasions each this season, again led MSU by tying for 24th place at 7-over-par 220. Sharp opened the day with par to complete his second round 3-under-par 68, which was his second lowest score of the season. He went on to shoot a 4-over-par 75 in the final round.
“Michael came in very young and talented and the development he made over four years was astounding,” Lubahn said. “He has a 3.98 GPA, dropped nearly five strokes off his scoring average during his career and really led us all year.”
Johnson ended the second round by birdying two of the three holes he had left to play to card his second straight 2-over-par 73. In the third round, he birdied two of the final three holes on the front nine, and then recorded another birdie on No. 10. He finished with a 3-over-par 74.
Freshman James Piot had the best round of any Spartan on Wednesday, shooting a 1-under-par 70. After combining for two birdies through the first two days, Piot recorded seven in the third round – the most by a Spartan during any round at the regional. Piot was 1-over-par after the front nine and then ended the day strong with four birdies on the back. He finished his first regional tied for 30th place at 9-over-par 222 (76-76-70).
Sophomore Andrew Walker improved his score in each of the three rounds, culminating with a 1-over-par 72 on Wednesday that included two birdies and six pars over the final eight holes. Walker also tied for 30th place at 9-over-par 222 (77-73-72).
“Kaleb, James and Andrew are the guys that we’re going to look to next year,” Lubahn said. “They have big-time talent and are great human beings. They know how to battle and now we just need to refine some things. It was great to see everyone play well today on a tough course.”
In his final tournament for the Green and White, Charlie Green carded his best round of the regional with a 4-over-par 75. He finished at 16-over-par 229 (77-77-75), tied for 53rd place.
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