Gophers suffer Sunday collapse to fall to 16th

Augusta, Ga. has seen a lot of great golf finishes, and just as many historic falters. In golfâÄôs most infamous city this weekend, the Gophers had their own last-round meltdown. After shooting a collective minus-four in the first two rounds, the Gophers put up a plus-18 dud Sunday afternoon, dropping to 16th (out of 17 teams) in the Administaff Augusta State Invitational. âÄúWe just had a truly terrible day,âÄù associate head coach Andrew Tank said. âÄúI wish I knew why, but I donâÄôt. It was just one of those days when nobodyâÄôs playing well, just one of those worst case scenarios where a few people have bad rounds all at the same time.âÄù Freshman Derek Chang, who shot a minus-two in the first round, finished the final round plus-nine. Sophomore Justin Kaplan had the worst outing, with a plus-10 round, including an eight on the par-four 18th hole. All six Gophers golfers finished over par in the final round, and their plus-18 was the worst of any team (teams donâÄôt have to count their worst score in round scoring). âÄúThe course didnâÄôt play too hard, so we were pretty hopeful going into that last round,âÄù senior Victor Almstrom said. âÄúWe knew where we were sitting on the leader board, and sometimes that just works against you. When everybodyâÄôs going for that top score, and trying to move us up in the standings, sometimes that makes you shoot worse. It was just one of those cases of trying a little too hard.âÄù It was also a blow to their chances of making the postseason, which, though hard to believe with the Minnesota weather, isnâÄôt far away. They entered the tournament at No. 61 in the NCAA head-to-head rankings, and teams typically need to finish in the top-70 to get into the NCAA tournament. While it was one of the seasonâÄôs tougher tournaments, with eight teams in the top-50, the late collapse and second-to-last finish may knock them out. They have just one tournament, next weekend in Columbus, Ohio, before the Big Ten tournament starts May 14. âÄúWe were going against some good teams this weekend, and we couldâÄôve really capitalized on that with a good finish,âÄù Tank said. âÄúIâÄôm not sure how all those formulas work, but that couldâÄôve been a big chance for us. Unfortunately we just finished really flat.âÄù The Gophers started the tournament with two of their best rounds of the season, with a minus-one first round and minus-three second round. Junior Ben Pisani had perhaps the best day of his career Saturday, shooting a minus-one in the morning and then a career-best five-under in the afternoon. His five-under round included seven birdies, as he took an aggressive approach to the short and hilly course, âÄúusing a lot of drivers and going for a lot of pins,âÄù he said. PisaniâÄôs one-over final round was the teamâÄôs best score Sunday, and he dropped to 12th after starting the day at No. 7, narrowly missing his second top-10 finish of the season. âÄúItâÄôs funny, I didnâÄôt feel that differently than any of my other rounds [Saturday afternoon],âÄù Pisani said. âÄúI think it was one of those rounds where putts that normally might bounce off the cup actually go in. And I think for some of the other guys, they just had one of those days where that didnâÄôt happen.âÄù