Purdue, Michigan State share Big Ten Match Play title

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Purdue, Michigan State share Big Ten Match Play title

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Purdue, Michigan State share Big Ten Match Play title

PALM COAST, Fla. – For a second straight year, the Big Ten Match Play Championship offered a tight finish. This time, though, more than one champion emerged.

Purdue and Michigan State earned co-champion honors Saturday at Hammock Beach Resort’s Ocean Course, as the pair tied 3-3 in the championship match.

The Big Ten Match Play offered an early spring gathering of all 14 squads in the conference. The teams were split into West and East divisions, with seeds from Nos. 1-7 on each side.

The top team in each division after three matches (played over all of Friday and Saturday morning at Hammock Beach’s Ocean and Conservatory courses) would make it to the championship. Every team in the divisions would be re-seeded after their results in the three matches. Thus, while the championship paired the new No. 1s, the other six non-championship matches Saturday afternoon would also pair same-seeded teams from the West and East divisions.

Purdue earned its spot in the championship by coming out on top in the West. The Boilermakers went 3-0, with victories over Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota. Purdue edged out a fellow 3-0 Wisconsin team for that championship spot from the West.

Michigan State went 2-1 in its pre-championship matches, defeating Rutgers and Indiana before losing to Penn State. The loss in Round 3, where matches were reduced to nine holes after a fog delay, ultimately didn’t matter, though, as the Spartans earned the No. 1 seed from the East.

The championship match saw Purdue take the first two contests, with Brian Carlson earning a 2-and-1 victory over Kaleb Johnson and Jason Hong downing Austin Jenner, 6 and 4. But the Spartans stormed back by winning the next three: Michael Sharp over Timmy Hildebrand, 5 and 3; James Piot over Joe Weiler, 4 and 2; Andrew Walker over Cole Bradley, 3 and 1.

It came down to Jarle Volden for the Boilermakers to have a chance at the shared title, and he came through.

Volden never trailed in his match with Charlie Green and held on at the end for a 1-up victory for the championship tie.

Wisconsin finished the week in third, with Penn State placing fourth. Indiana was fifth while Illinois, the highest-ranked team entering the event, came in sixth.

Defending champion Northwestern placed 11th.

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