Gophers lose 36-hole lead but nab 2nd in NC

Host College of Charlestown won the Pinehurst Challenge.

Nick Sudheimer

With its best finish of the season, the Minnesota womenâÄôs golf team seems to be hitting its stride at the right time.

The Gophers finished second Tuesday at the Pinehurst Challenge, the teamâÄôs third top-five finish of the spring season.

After carding rounds of 306 and 309 over the first two rounds, Minnesota headed into the final 18 holes tied atop the leaderboard with host College of Charleston.

However, windy conditions prevented the Gophers from holding on to first place as they scored a 310 in the final round and finished 12 strokes behind the Cougars, who carded a 298.

Despite the disappointing final round, Minnesota is playing its best golf of the season, and with only one tournament remaining before the Big Ten championships, the timing could not be better.

Led by seniors Teresa Puga, Mary Narzisi, Samantha Sommers and Michele Edlin, the Gophers did not have a golfer finish outside the top 30 individually.

Narzisi led all Gophers by shooting a 54-hole total of 227 and earning a second-place finish at the two-day tournament.

Continuing her tremendous spring season, Puga had yet another strong outing by finishing eighth, while Sommers followed closely with a ninth-place finish.

Edlin finished tied for 11th, and sophomore Jackie Shepherd rounded out the Gophers lineup by finishing 28th.

The biggest story of the tournament for Minnesota, though may have been the play of freshman Banchalee Theinthong, who after shooting an 84 in the first round, rebounded with the lowest second-round score in the field, a 72. Playing as an individual, Theinthong eventually finished 17th, eleven spots better than final team player Jackie Shepherd.

Minnesota will return to action April 16- 17 to participate in the Lady Buckeye Spring Invite in Columbus, Ohio.