WILMINGTON, N.C. - The men's golf team maintained its second-round lead at The Landfall Tradition and won for the second time in three weeks on Sunday. The Spartans finished the tournament with a score of 851 (281-285-285), edging Duke by four shots and Big Ten foe Purdue by seven shots.
The Spartans shot back-to-back rounds of 3-under 285, and both rounds were the lowest round of the day among the 12-team field. In addition, Michigan State only counted one 18-hole score above par throughout the tournament, resulting in the Spartans lowest tournament score of the year, improving upon their previous low by 22 shots.
'We had three straight rounds under par and that is really tough to do,' head coach Mark Hankins said. 'We had pressure on us, and we went out and fought hard. It was a really good team win and we had a great time doing it.'
Four Spartans posted under-par as well as career-best tournament scores at the 6,948-yard, par-72 Nicklaus Course at the Country Club of Landfall. As a team, the Spartans shot 13 under par, their first under-par tournament of the season.
Sophomore Matt Harmon finished as the Spartans' lowest scorer for the third consecutive week, capping off the fall season with a 210 (68-72-70). With the tie for fourth-place finish, Harmon has finished in the top five for three straight weeks after posting one top five all of last season.
Duke's Ryan Blaum took medalist honors for the second week in a row, beating Harmon by two shots after he edged Harmon last week in a playoff. Harmon trailed Blaum by one heading into Sunday's round, but could not overcome the deficit as Blaum shot a final-round 69.
As a team, three Spartans placed in the top 20 in addition to Harmon's top-5 finish. Senior Andrew Ruthkoski posted his fourth top 10 of the season, finishing with in a tie for 10th with a three-round total of 210 (71-69-72).
Freshmen Ryan Brehm and Brandon Cigna both improved upon their second-round positions during Sunday's final round. After posting consecutive rounds of 71, Brehm finished the tournament in a tie for 13th, shooting a final-round 72 and a 214 total for the tournament. Brehm has shot even par or better in five of his last six rounds, including four scores of 71.
In his first collegiate tournament, Cigna posted two rounds under par and a three-day total of 215 (71-73-71). His one-under tournament total put him in a tie for 19th, his first career top 20.
Senior Jimmy Chestnut closed the tournament with back-to-back rounds of 75 and played consistently throughout the week. Though the Spartans did not use any of Chestnut's scores during the week, he finished in a tie for 39th with a total score of 224 (74-75-75), his second best tournament of the season.
'We had four solid scores in each round,' Hankins said. 'Every day our guys were prepared and ready to play.'
With the win, the Spartans conclude a very successful fall season that saw the team win two tournaments and place in the top three in each of their five tournaments. The Spartans return to action in March when they open the spring season in Alabama for the Alabama Spring Invitational on March 11-13, 2005.