U golfers get another

by Jim Schortemeyer

There was no beating the Nevada-Las Vegas men’s golf team last weekend. The Rebels destroyed the field en route to winning the Compaq Collegiate Golf Championships.
This weekend figures to be a different story, according to Minnesota’s golfers. The Gophers say that UNLV’s win could have been easily predicted.
“The course suited UNLV,” junior Martin LeMesurier said. “I don’t think it was a surprise they won the tournament.”
The Rebels finished at 25 under par — 11 strokes ahead of second-place Minnesota. The UNLV performance drew comparisons to another Rebels team from Minnesota coach John Means.
“When Jerry Tarkanian coached UNLV’s basketball team, their goal was to knock every team into the ground by 40 points,” Means said. “The golf team plays similar to that. They go after every pin. They’re extremely aggressive.”
The extremely low scores surprised Means, who thought the winning score would be just under par.
But if the course was a deciding factor last week, Minnesota has a chance to prove so starting today. The Gophers will get another crack at third-ranked UNLV at this weekend’s tournament in Cary, N.C.
The field will be similar to last week, which featured five teams ranked in the top 20. The Gophers moved up to 12th in the new rankings, but are still behind two teams they beat last weekend.
Last weekend’s success came thanks to quality play from all Gophers golfers. Sophomore James McLean picked up Big Ten athlete of the-week honors for his third-place finish last week.
The rest of the Minnesota contingent finished in the top 22. Senior Jeff Barney’s result was a particularly welcome sight for the Gophers. At one point Barney was 3-under par, before a 76 on Sunday ballooned his finish to 1-over. Still, Means liked what he saw from his streaky veteran.
“I was even pleased with the way he played the last round,” Means said. “He called a penalty on himself when he moved his ball on a putting green. He’d just tried to make a birdie, then tried to make an eagle and ended up with a bogey. That took the wind out of him.”
With a long four-week break on the horizon, Minnesota needs a strong finish to overcome a shaky spring. Barney in part links the team’s improvement to a realization about the top-ranked teams.
“Early on we may have been a bit impressed with them,” Barney said. “But now, the more we play with them, we know they’re human.”