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Feb. 8, 2013
BRADENTON, Fla. - The Penn State men's golf team opened their spring season at Big Ten Matchplay, defeating No. 8 Minnesota following an opening loss to No. 7 Michigan State. The Nittany Lions fell to the Spartans 4-1-0 Friday morning, but came back to top the Gophers 3-1-1 in an afternoon match.
Freshman Chris Houston (Gilford, N.H.) had a big day at the Concessions Golf Club as the only Nittany Lion to win both matchups. Houston first earned a 1-up victory over Michigan State's Carson Castellani. He continued this hot streak by clinching a major win over Minnesota's Tyler Lowenstein 6-and-5.
Seniors Anthony DeGol (Hollidaysburg, Pa.) and Jay Woodward (Bridgeport, W. Va.) both fell short 2-and-1 to their Michigan State opponents. DeGol was never able to tie things up with freshman Mitch Rutledge, as Rutledge took a 1-up lead after the first hole and never looked back. Woodward was able to square up with senior Spartan Dan Ellis after two holes, but could not regain the tie in the following holes. Both DeGol and Wooward were able to rally back from their morning performances with wins over their Minnesota opponents, 2-up and 1-up, respectively.
Sophomore Jens Talbert (Little Rock, Ark.) fell to Michigan State's Matthew Mosely 4-and-2. Talbert then met his match in the second competition of the day - Minnesota senior Erik Van Rooyen. The two battled for 18 holes and halved the match. Van Rooyen was 1-up through 10 holes, when Talbert was able to square him up on the 11th. While the match went back-and-forth following that square up, neither Talbert nor Van Rooyen was able to prevail through 18.
Sophomore Xander McDonald-Smith (Rockaway Park, N.Y.) fought back against Michigan State's Gareth Blease after being 6-down through 12 holes. McDonald-Smith's comeback fell short, though, when Blease took the 2-and-1 victory.
Freshman Geoff Vartelas (Cromwell, Conn.) lost a tough afternoon match to Minnesota junior Jon Trasamar. The two golfers were all square through 16 holes, but Trasamar went on to go 1-up after 17. Vartelas' managed to tie his opponent on hole 18, but this resulted in falling just short to Trasamer as he took the match 1-up.
The Nittany Lions will resume Big Ten Matchplay Saturday morning when they battle Wisconsin at 8:50 a.m. Live stats may be accessed through the AJGA website.