That Michigan State men’s golf team has set itself up to win the first event of the young season at the Folds of Honor Collegiate at American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven.
After a slow start Monday, MSU responded with a 5-under-par 279 Tuesday to jump into first place in the 18-team field by three strokes heading into Wednesday’s final round. The Spartans were in ninth place after Monday’s first round after a 7-over 291.
“We settled in quicker. I didn’t think we were ready for the nerves yesterday, a lot of people out there, incredible spectacle, this tournament is, one of one in college golf and a lot of hometown fans,” MSU coach Casey Lubahn said. “I think we were nervous and we got off to one of the worst starts I can remember in my career. But we played great when we came in and just kept it going this morning. We were steady, solid and to be able to shoot the low round of the day is incredible.”
MSU currently sits at 2-over, followed by No. 19-ranked Arizona and South Carolinais tied for second at 5-over par.
Arkansaswhich narrowly missed the top 25 in the inaugural Golfweek Coaches Poll, sits one stroke back in fourth, four strokes ahead of the next closest team in Notre Dame.
Senior August Meekhof leads the Spartans at 1-under through two rounds and sits in a three-way tie for fourth overall. North Carolina State‘s Nic Mathews leads at 5-under par.
MSU junior Ashton McCulloch is even par through two rounds, while graduate student Drew Hackett is at 1-over. Graduate student Bradley Jamison recovered from a 4-over-par opening round to shoot again Tuesday, while freshman Lorenzo Pinili is 5-over through two rounds in his first collegiate action.
The event has been in the works for MSU and Lubahn for a while, and Lubahn has taken pride in seeing so many spectators come out to support his group.
“I don’t know if there were 1,000 people here, but there was a passion and energy, and we felt it when we walked out to the first tee,” Lubahn said. “I’ve been in college golf for 20 years now, and I’ve never seen a tournament of this scale and scope, with this kind of impact on its community. Michigan really showing up for college golf.”
Among MSU’s five golfers at the Folds of Honor were four members of the Spartan team that played in the NCAA Regionals at Eagle Eye in Bath last spring. There, MSU was in position to advance to the final day, but struggled on the final day and didn’t make the cut — an experience the Spartans hope to use to their advantage on Wednesday.
“That’s going to be the conversation and what do we remember about the feelings we had last May at the regional level,” Lubahn said. “I thought we tried way too hard, put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be more than we were. They learned today that they just have to be themselves and play disciplined golf. I think when you playing at home, you worry about everyone else’s opinions and thoughts, all I want them to do tomorrow is be themselves.
“The fans are going to love Michigan State golf whether we play well or play poorly. It’s about them enjoying the experience and being on national television in our home event.”
MSU starts on Wednesday at 10:10 to maintain their three-stroke lead against a field that includes No. 5 Florida State. The event will be broadcast on Golf Channel and Peacock from 2 p.m
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This article originally appeared on the Lansing State Journal: MSU men’s golf rolls into first place ahead of final day at Folds of Honor