Crisp weather doesn’t stop golfers at home

by Lou Raguse

The temperature was 20 degrees colder, but Minnesota’s women’s golf team was still able to shave 12 strokes from its shaky second round and win the Minnesota Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sunday.

It was the first tournament championship for coach Katie Weiss and every Minnesota competitor entered.

“Truthfully, the worse the weather is, the better we seem to play,” Weiss said. “It makes us really bear down and concentrate.”

Minnesota’s five-person team consisted of senior Katie Jacobson, junior Terra Petsinger, sophomore Sarah Butler and freshmen Sophie Stubbs and Louise Fleming.

Sophomore Jessica Thomas and freshman Brittany Willborg competed individually, not counting toward the overall team score.

Petsinger won medalist honors with a 228 score. She shot a one-under-par 71 in the first round, the tournament’s low score and her lowest score at the college level.

Minnesota started the tournament strong, leading after the first round with a score of 313. However, the wind picked up in the afternoon, and the Gophers shot 321 in the second round. The output dropped Minnesota to a second-place tie with Eastern Washington, trailing Bradley University by three strokes.

“I wasn’t sure about my shots when the wind picked up,” said Petsinger, who shot an 82 in that round. “I didn’t commit myself to each shot.”

The Gophers fought wind again Sunday, but were seemingly unaffected as they pulled ahead and won the tournament by 10 strokes with a 943 score. Eastern Washington University was second at 953 with Bradley University one stroke behind.

Weiss was pleased with the performance of Butler, who cut nine strokes from her second round score and led the Gophers on Sunday.

“That was obviously the determining factor in how we did today,” Weiss said. “In the last year, Sarah has really stepped up into a top-two player.”

Butler tied for second place individually with a 232 score, her career best.

“I was more aggressive today,” Butler said.

Petsinger also attributed her third round improvement to aggressiveness, although she was not satisfied with her putting.

“Today, my short game was absolutely awful, but I hit the ball well and hit a lot of greens,” Petsinger said. “It wasn’t pretty, but I found a way to get it done.”

Next weekend, the Gophers travel to Ohio State for the Lady Northern Invitational, which is a preview to the Big Ten championships. Although the conference season isn’t until the spring, Weiss said that with the win over the weekend, the same five golfers will compete at Ohio State.

Weiss also noted that the golfers must improve their short games to compete at the Lady Northern and into the spring season.

“This win doesn’t mean that we have our putting down,” Weiss said. “We need to work on our short game and our course management.”