Saturday, June 15, 2024

MSU Golf's Ashton McCulloch receives invite to the U.S. Open

June 8, 2024
<p>MSU men's golfer and applied engineering senior Ashton McCulloch plays at the RBC Canadian Open. Photo courtesy of MSU Men's Basketball Associate Director Mike Carey.</p>

MSU men's golfer and applied engineering senior Ashton McCulloch plays at the RBC Canadian Open. Photo courtesy of MSU Men's Basketball Associate Director Mike Carey.

With golf in its summer swing, Michigan State University's upcoming senior golfer Ashton McCulloch has stayed hot on the course by receiving an invite as one of 66 golfers to compete for a spot in the U.S. Open. McCulloch shot a 6-under par of 65 to earn a spot as one of seven to head to the Professional Golfers' Association Tour event.

The Kingston, Ontario, native has had a season unlike any other at Michigan State through his junior year, making waves by becoming an All-Big Ten Second Team selection. He was the Spartans' top finisher in nine of the teams matches, six of which were the last matches of the college regular season.

Alongside his Big Ten recognitions, McCulloch was selected to the All-Midwest Region by the Golf Coaches' Association of America.

McCulloch held a 70.89 scoring average over 36 rounds played through his junior season. He set the point record by scooting ahead of 2017-2022 Spartan alumnus James Piot, who held a 71.33 in his 2021 year. His numbers gave him an opportunity to play for yet another premiere golf tournament in his home country, the RBC Canadian Open, which took place May 30 through June 2, 2024.

"(The RBC Canadian Open) was an unbelievable experience. It’s something that I’ve dreamed of for a long time, to get my first PGA tour start, and to play in Canada," McCulloch said. "Canadians were not a big group in golf, so, there, it gets pretty loud for fellow Canadians, which is super awesome. It's that sort of adrenaline that I love to get from golf — you get that when you're in the final group. I wasn't in the final group, and I still got it."

With his No. 1 overall scoring average, McCulloch also ranks top 11 in both his sophomore year, where he had an average score of 71.74, placing him in eighth, and his freshman year, towering a 71.99 average score and putting him in 11th place all time.

Throughout the 13 events that McCulloch played this past season, he placed in the top five four times, top ten six times and top 20 eight times, including 34.5 out of 35 of his rounds played that counted towards the team total. The season's successes have led up to his trip to the U.S. Open.

Though adrenaline and nerves come with the sport, McCulloch strives to turn these obstacles into advantages. 

"I grew up playing different sports, mainly hockey, so I try not to suppress the nerves and the excitement — I think you can use them," McCulloch said. "I think they're good emotions if you use them correctly, if you use the nerves and excitement to help you get locked into a shot, to get you focused on process more and not on outcome."

McCulloch was the lone rookie at the qualifying round and one of seven players to make their upcoming appearance in the U.S Open, which will take place from June 13-16 at the Pinehurst Course in North Carolina. 

"It's obviously a dream of mine to play and make a championship, and it's just a stepping stone to my ultimate goal in the game of golf, just to be as good as I can be," McCulloch said. "I don't really know what the future has in store for me, but all I can really do is play the best I can, and be the best human I can."

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