BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Led by junior Sam Weatherhead, the Michigan State men’s golf team captured the Fossum Memorial title at storied Point O’Woods Golf Course and Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Spartans won with a school record 54-hole score of 31-under 833 (279-275-279).The second-round 275 was the third-lowest round in school history behind the 273 that the 2002 team carded, led by head coachCasey Lubahn. The 2007 Spartans were second with a 274. Cincinnati finished second with a 12-under 852 (285-287-280). The Michigan State “B” team was third with a 22-over 294 (297-295-294), while Nebraska was fourth with a 33-over 897 (299-299-299).
“The conditions were friendly, and I thought our boys played quite well. They put it together finally after a Fall of being close. I think they put 54 holes together and made a few more puts and stayed a little more patient. I think that what this team can be. It was a pretty darn good effort,” Lubahn said.
Weatherhead became the second Spartan this fall to individual medalist honors, leading wire-to-wire with a school record 14-under 202 (68-65-68). He broke Spartan great Ryan Brehm’s record of 203 (68-65-70) at the 2005 Big Ten Championship. Junior Mitch Rutledge also had a record-setting day finishing second with a 12-under 204 (70-69-65). Rutledge and Weatherhead both carded a 65 during the two-day tournament which is tied for the third-lowest score in school history and was career lows for both players. Rutledge also won the Inverness Intercollegiate in September.
To see records like these fall at such a historic course was a great sign for Lubahn.
“Both of those guys have come a long way, Sam (Weatherhead) and Mitch (Rutledge). They have become great strikers, and they putt well. I think those records are going to happen a lot. They have had a lot of growth. They are both trying to play aggressive. They wanted to win, as opposed to playing not to lose. I am super proud of them. Sam set the record for 54 holes on a historically difficult golf course.“
Senior Josh Heinze has continued to shine since entering the MSU lineup, finishing fourth with a 6-under 210 (68-70-72). JuniorCharlie Netzel was tied for ninth, carding a 1-over 217 (73-71-73), while junior Gareth Lappin rounded out the Spartan lineup finishing 18th with a 11-over (77-76-74).
Junior Charlie Green was the top finisher for the Michigan State “B” team, ending tied for sixth. Green finished 1-under with a 215 (73-71-71). Sophomore Michael Sharp tied Netzel for ninth, shooting a 72 in the final round. Sophomore A.J. Varekois was 14th with a 6-over 222 (71-75-76), while freshman Glen Piot and redshirt junior Sean Friel tied for 20th. Redshirt junior Gates Mullerrounded out the Michigan State (B) squad, finishing 25th.
“Anytime you host you want to play well, but I think that it is more about honoring Bruce Fossum and doing it at a place that is special in Michigan,” Lubahn said.
The Fossum/Spartan Memorial began in 1966 with eight schools participating and grew to 25 teams in the late 1970s. The tournament was renamed in 1992 in honor of Bruce Fossum, longtime Spartan coach and teacher. Among his many coaching laurels is his induction into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in 1985. Fossum’s wife, Mary (MSU’s former women’s golf coach), was inducted into the hall in 1988, making the pair the only husband-wife team in the GCAA Hall of Fame. Bruce was the chairman of the NCAA Golf Committee from 1971 to 1975 and president of the Golf Coaches Association of America from 1977 through 1979.
Michigan State has now won the title 12 times, last winning in the fall of 2010 (fall) and 2010 (spring), in the 45-year existence of the Fossum/Spartan Memorial.
Michigan State will now take a break, returning to action at the Quail Valley Intercollegiate Oct. 26-27 in Vero Beach, Fla.