It’s round two against top competition

Austin Cumblad

The Minnesota men’s golf team may have faced a tough field last weekend in Puerto Rico, but it pales in comparison to the competition the Gophers will run up against this weekend.

Play begins today at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Classic, hosted by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas at the Southern Highlands Golf Club. The three-round tournament runs through Sunday.

Minnesota will try and improve on a 14th place finish last weekend at the Puerto Rico Classic, which boasted a field containing 13 teams ranked in the Golfweek Top 50.

At Southern highlands, however, the competition will be even stiffer. Though only 11 teams this weekend are nationally ranked, seven are in the top 10, including No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Charlotte, and No. 5 UCLA.

The Gophers finished 5th last year with a 24-over par 888, 14 shots back of tournament champion UCLA.

Minnesota’s lineup this weekend includes senior Clayton Rask, juniors Victor Almstrom and Yu Katayama, sophomore Ben Pisani and freshman Mikael Salminen.

Women compete in Ariz.

After a week and a half off, the Minnesota women’s golf team returns to action this weekend in Arizona.

The Gophers begin their second tournament of the spring today at the Rio Verde Invitational, hosted by Western Michigan at the Rio Verde Country Club. All teams hail from the Midwest in the three-round event.

Last year, Minnesota was part of a three-way tie for 9th in the 18-team field. Baylor, which will not appear in this year’s tournament, won the team championship with a 22-over par 886.

Sophomore Christine Herzog will take on Rio Verde’s Quail Run Course; she’s the only Gophers golfer playing this weekend who has competed in the Rio Verde Invitational previously, finishing in a tie for 83rd last year as a freshman.

Joining her are freshmen Teresa Puga, Samantha Sommers and Mary Narzisi and senior Emily Brand.