Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spartan Golf Master Goes for Green Jacket

Today is one of the biggest days in recent memory for Spartan Golf, as Junior Jack Newman tees off at The Masters. Mr. Newman is the first Spartan to ever play in The Masters, one of golf's most prestigious tournaments. According to MSU, "Jack currently leads this year's squad with a 72.4 stroke average and for his career, is fourth in MSU history with a 74.1 average. An All-Big Ten second team choice as a sophomore, Newman has won three collegiate events - the 2007 Fossum Invitational, the 2008 Western Intercollegiate and the 2008 Spartan Classic - and has seven top-5 finishes."

He is an automatic qualifier for The Masters, as he is the current 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Champion. He tees off today at 12:02 p.m. and Friday is 8:55 a.m. with Rocco Mediate and Fred Couples in his playing group. In the Masters Par 3 Tournament held this week, Mr. Newman finished tied for 2nd.

Mr. Newman's weekend could have long lasting effects back in East Lansing. "Jack's teammates are now working harder than ever. They are now believers that this can also be them if they continue to do the right things and work hard," MSU Men's Golf Coach Sam Puryear said. "Recruits are able to see that you can make it to the largest stage in golf while playing collegiately at a northern school. If your goal is to make it on the tour, MSU is your place."

Mr. Newman's accomplishments may already have made him one of MSU's most recognizable golfers ever. While the MSU Hall of Fame has three Women's golfers and a Women's golf coach inducted, there are no representatives of Men's golf yet inducted. Of MSU's four Big Ten Championships in golf, Mr. Newman has helped earn two, in 2007 and 2008. Still, Coach Puryear warned that speculation on Mr. Newman's place in history may be premature. "His resume will look great, but he has a lot of collegiate golf left."

For Mr. Newman, the focus is just about playing well this weekend. After all, if he pulls off a miracle win, he'd get - appropriately - a green jacket.

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