Men need top-4 finish at Big 10s for shot at NCAAs

The No. 40 women, meanwhile, earned an NCAA bid after an impressive 2011.

Nick Sudheimer

Heading into the Big Ten championships this weekend in West Lafayette, Ind., the Minnesota menâÄôs golf team (60-66-3) will need nothing short of a spectacular finish in order to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

In order to be eligible for the postseason, Minnesota will need to finish fourth or better. And even then itâÄôs not certain that the Gophers will receive an invitation from the NCAA to participate in the regional tournament.

Fortunately for the Gophers, history is on their side at the conference championships.

Since 1996, Minnesota has finished in the top five every year, except for last season when the team placed eighth, its worst finish since 1989. Moreover, since 2002, the Gophers have finished in the top two six times and have won six team titles.

Of concern this year for the Gophers, however, is their lack of experience. Only two players on the roster âÄî Donald Constable and Erik Van Rooyen âÄî have played in the Big Ten championships before.

Constable and Van Rooyen were MinnesotaâÄôs top two golfers at last yearâÄôs tournament, finishing 16th and 39th, respectively.

While the Gophers have been able to consistently rely on strong performances from Constable and Van Rooyen this season, the rest of the Minnesota lineup has been inconsistent. That said, there have been bright spots: Freshman Jon Trasamar has finished 4th and 21st this spring season, while senior Cameron White recently finished in the top 20.

With a solid performance from the bottom half of the lineup, the Gophers have the potential to be a legitimate competitor this weekend.

Minnesota will kick off play this Friday at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex âÄî Kampen Course.

Women earn NCAA bid

After one of the best spring seasons in the programâÄôs recent history, the Minnesota womenâÄôs golf team has been invited to participate in the NCAA Central Regional Golf Tournament, which will be played at Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. May 5-7.

Out of 24 participating teams, the Gophers are the 14th seed. They will be joined by Big Ten foes Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin. UCLA, which is the top-ranked team in the nation, is the No. 1 seed.

Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional to play at the NCAA Championships in Bryan, Texas.