The Michigan State men’s golf team has wrapped up the season with a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championship and eighth-place finish at the Bryan NCAA Regional. A number of Spartans picked up Big Ten honors on the season as well.
Big Ten Championship
The Big Ten men’s championship was held April 29 through May 1 at The Pete Dye course at the French Lick Resort in Indiana. The Spartans led for the first two days before falling to second place in the final standings.
The men’s team started off the Big Ten Championship hot, jumping out to first place at the end of day one with a 12-under par 276 performance. Four individual golfers were in the top-10 and all five were among the top-20 after the opening day. All five players for the Spartans finished at even or under-par and played the back nine bogey-free, taking an eight-shot lead on the field.
Day two saw Michigan State maintain its place atop the field’s standings as the team went 13-over par 301 on the day’s action. The front nine saw MSU’s lead shrink to just four shots and had 12 bogeys between holes 10 and 14 after being bogey-free on Friday. Finishing strong with five birdies over the final four holes kept the Spartans in the lead at the end of day two, though.
In the final day of competition, Michigan State entered the back nine in a back-and-forth battle with Illinois amongst strong and gusty winds, but ended the day 21-over par 309 to the Illini’s 19-over par 307. The Spartans ended the tournament in second place with a final score of 22-over par 886 in the 54-hole competition to Illinois’s 21-over par 885.
Sophomore August Meekhof finished in third place overall at 1-over par 217. Senior James Piot finished in eighth place at 4-over par 220. Freshman Ashton McCulloch finished 8-over par 224 and tied for 17th place. Junior Brad Smithson tied for 45th place at 14-over par 230, while senior Troy Taylor shot 17-over par 223 to tie for 52nd overall.
As a result of their performances, McCulloch won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was named All-Big Ten second team. He becomes the third Spartan ever to earn the honor and first since his teammate, Piot, earned it back in 2018. PGA Tour professional Ryan Brehm also earned the award in 2005. McCulloch had five top-10 finishes this year and nine among the top-20, which led the team.
Piot earned All-Big Ten first team honors, his third time doing so at MSU. It also marks his fifth all-conference award and he holds the program’s lowest scoring average of 71.27 following the Big Ten Championship. Piot owns three of the top four single-season scoring averages in program history. His career scoring average of 71.96 is the best in program history.
Meekhof was also named All-Big Ten second team, his first All-Big Ten honors of his career. He has two top-10 finishes this year and six among the top-20. He was named to the All-Big Ten Championships team after placing third in the event.
NCAA Bryan Regional
The men’s golf team earned the No. 7 seed at the Bryan NCAA Regional, its fifth regional bid in the past six years. The team was selected for the NCAA Bryan Regional played on the par 72, 7,146-yard Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas. The top-five teams at the regional advance to the national championship.
Following opening day of action, the Spartans were tied for eighth place with Colorado State at 5-over par 293. Just ahead of MSU in the standings were seventh place Kansas at 1-over par 289 and SMU in sixth at even par 288.
The second round saw Michigan State fall to ninth place in the standings after shooting 7-over par 295 for the day, bringing the team up to 12-over par 588 overall. Meekhof led the Spartans in the standings at even-par 144, tied for 21st overall. Piot was 1-over par 145, tied for 26th place overall.
Following the final day on the course, MSU fell far short of qualifying to advance as an 8-over par 296 for the third day saw a final score of 20-over par 884 to place eighth overall. Michigan State ended the regional behind Tennessee in seventh at 16-over par 867.
Meekhof finished tied for 17th place at even-par 216, shooting even-par 72 on the final day that included two birdies and an eagle. Piot finished 29th overall with a 4-over par 220 score. He shot 3-over par 75 on the final day that included two birdies on the back nine.
Taylor finished tied for 47th place with a score of 9-over par 225 after finishing the day three 4-over par 76. McCulloch finished 57th with a 13-over par 229 and Smithson tied for 60th after finishing 15-over par 231.