Gophers tied for sixth after day one of Gopher Invitational

Senior Donald Constable chips Sunday during the first round of the Gopher Invitational Tournament in Wayzata.  Constable began the tournament with three straight birdies en route to a 36 hole total of 142

Image by Joe Michaud-Scorza

Senior Donald Constable chips Sunday during the first round of the Gopher Invitational Tournament in Wayzata. Constable began the tournament with three straight birdies en route to a 36 hole total of 142

by Nate Gotlieb

Senior golfer Donald Constable took full advantage of the great weather on the first day of the Gopher Invitational golf tournament. Constable fired three birdies in his first three holes on his way to a 2-under 142 at his home course, Spring Hill Golf Club, in Wayzata. The lefty hit every fairway on the front nine in the first round while keeping the ball low in a stiff wind, and finished the day in a tie for fourth. The Gophers finished the first round in second place, but struggled in the second round and dropped to sixth , finishing 18-over par. The tournament concludes Monday, with the final round beginning at 8:30 a.m. Constable played in the premier trio of the tournament alongside Kelly Kraft of Southern Methodist University and John Hahn of Kent State. Kelly, who won the Invitational last year, finished the day in second with a 5-under 139. Hahn leads the tournament at nineâÄìunder. Luke Greyi, a 2009 Minnesota graduate and Minnesota golf fan, followed the threesome throughout the morning and was impressed with their effective play. âÄúThis is a really good group âĦ Not many bad shots out here,âÄù Greyi said. Greyi was part of a group of about 15 spectators following the top trio around the course. Many spectators were family of the players, out enjoying the local tournament on one of the most beautiful days of the year. Others were volunteers. William Casey and Bruce Bromen are both Minnesota Golf Association volunteers who help out at MGA events, the Minnesota High School golf tournament and the occasional Gophers golf event. Stationed at the 14th hole, Casey and Bromen enjoyed the quality of both the weather and the golf. âÄúWe really love the game, we really love to help out, and we really love good golf,âÄù Casey said. Tom White, whose son Cameron White plays for the Gophers, was also a volunteer at the event. âÄúI think itâÄôs a great venue,âÄù White said. âÄúThe teams that are here are top the top collegiate teams in the country, and itâÄôs very competitive.âÄù White was optimistic about the new Gophers coaching regime of director John Harris and associate menâÄôs head coach John Carlson. âÄúTheir team is strong âĦ I think they will become more competitive with him as head coach,âÄù White said. The Gophers brought nine golfers to the event, with five competing as part of the team score and four competing individually. College golf is scored both individually and on a team basis. Schools play five golfers on the team side, taking the top four, and all of those golfers, along with any extra, qualify as individuals. Constable and sophomore Erik Van Rooyen, were the only Gophers golfers to finish the first round in under par. Van Rooyen started the tournament hot, birdying four of the first six holes on his way to shooting a 68. The other three Gophers counted in the team scoring âÄî Timothy Peterzen, David Haley Jr. and Shang Zhi âÄî finished the first round at two over, seven over and nine over, respectively, and helped the Gophers finish the first round in second place at four over par. The Gophers could not match their first round success in the afternoon however. After a first round 74, Peterzen stumbled to a second round 87, Haley shot a second round 82 and Van Rooyen followed his first round 68 with a second round 76, dropping to a tie for ninth individually. In his first tournament as director of golf, Harris was pleased with his teamâÄôs performance, but the former pro admitted heâÄôs still learning. âÄúI think itâÄôs going great, but IâÄôm not a great judge because IâÄôve never done this before,âÄù Harris said. LSU leads the tournament at 6-over, followed by Kent State, Arkansas and Charlotte. The tournament was also highlighted by IowaâÄôs Chris Grant, who hit a hole-in-one on the 215-yard par-3 eighth hole.