Kerr leads U golfers to 7th

Kristian Pope

Rob Kerr is one of the Gophers golf team’s young guns. A former junior champion in his native Quebec, Kerr redshirted the 1994-95 season and knew that he would be among several qualified underclassman vying for a starter’s job this year.
Kerr, a sophomore, battled all season, and his improved play earned him a position as the team’s No. 5 starter on May 4.
Just three weeks after being named a starter — at a time when playing well counts the most — it’s the other players who are the ones trying to catch Kerr.
Shooting a team-low 1-over-par 72, Kerr led the Gophers with a tie for sixth place Thursday during the first round of the NCAA Golf Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Kerr’s 72 led Minnesota, ranked 39th in the country, to seventh place at 293.
On Thursday, Minnesota got all of its support from the underclassmen like Kerr. Freshmen Matt Doyle and Dan Arroyo tied for seventh place at 73.
Gophers senior Aaron Barber, the team’s No. 1 starter, was in ninth with a 75. Junior Mark Halverson was 10th with a first-round 5-over-par 76.
“The younger guys really picked (the upperclassmen) up today,” Barber said. “Rob may be the No. 5 starter, but he plays like the No. 3 guy. He calmed down today and even had it under par for a while. It’s great to have the young guys come through.”
Barber said he is confident the older players will rebound. “We know we’re going to come back,” he said. “We’re not worried.”
Texas A&M, the nation’s 20th-ranked team, led the field of 21 teams with a first-round 284. Big Ten runner-up Indiana was second with 285, while top-ranked Oklahoma State was tied for third with Arkansas at 286.
“There was a lot of unused talent that we didn’t show,” Halverson said. “We feel good that we’re still in it.”
Said Doyle: “We had a lot of birdies and bogies today, so it kind of evened out. If we just tidy up our play and shoot lower, we’ll be in a good position.”
The top 10 teams at the regional will advance to the NCAA tournament in two weeks. Today’s second round begins at 7:30 a.m.

NCAA Golf Central Regional

First-round team scores: 1. Texas A&M, 284; 2. Indiana, 285; 3. (tie) Arkansas, 286; Okla. St, 286; 5. Iowa St., 287; 6. Miami (Ohio), 290; 7. Gophers, 293; 8. Jackson State, 294; 9. (tie) Ohio State, 295; SMU, 295; 11. (tie) Kansas, 296; Kent State, 296; Texas, 296; 14. (tie) Oklahoma, 297; Stephen F. Austin, 297; 16. Texas Tech, 299; 17. Drake, 301; 18. (tie) Northwestern, 301; TCU, 302; 20. Tulsa, 303; 21. Nebraska, 306.

Gophers scores: 6. (tie) Kerr, 72; 7. (tie) Doyle, 73; Arroyo, 73; 9. (tie) Barber, 75; 10. (tie) Halverson, 76.