Two of a kind on and off the golf course

Minnesota women’s golfers Terra Petsinger and Sarah Butler are pretty close on the golf course.

Petsinger placed first at the 12-team Minnesota Invitational on Sept. 20-21 earning medalist honors and posting a career low of 71 for her first collegiate title. Butler, meanwhile, was four shots back and tied for second with her best collegiate finish.

They are pretty close off the links as well.

“We live together, so we like to call ourselves roommates, teammates, friends,” Butler said. “We are perfect roommates. We have a great relationship.”

Second-year coach Katie Weiss echoed that sentiment about her golfers.

“They’re the best of friends,” Weiss said.

In addition to living and competing together, Petsinger and Butler worked together last summer at the Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins, Minn.

Petsinger, a junior from Arvilla, N.D., is one of two upperclassmen on the eight-player squad. She is the only player remaining from a team threatened to be cut by the Minnesota athletics department two years ago. The lone senior on this year’s team, Katie Jacobson, was a transfer from the University of Montana.

As an upperclassman on a team of four freshman and two sophomores, Petsinger believes she has a mentoring role on the team.

“We have a young team so I feel like I’m a leader to them and I try to work hard, and set a good example for them too,” she said.

Petsinger’s lesson is not lost on her sophomore roommate.

“She works extremely hard,” Butler said of Petsinger. “And that’s something I really admire her for, and that’s her work ethic,”

Petsinger posted the second best stroke average on the team last season, the sixth best mark in the program’s history. She finished fourth in the Big Ten championships last season carding the second best 72-hole score in Minnesota history.

Weiss fully expects Petsinger to make some noise this season at the Big Ten championships, saying she believes the junior could contend for the individual conference title.

Weiss also has confidence in Butler’s abilities to perform in the conference championship.

“I would look for her to be in one of our top positions in the Big Ten as well,” she said.

A native of Roseau, Minn., Butler competed in all 10 tournaments as a freshman, and was third on the team in stroke average.

In high school, Butler’s team won the state team title her sophomore and junior years. As a senior Butler won the individual title and took all-state honors.

Butler feels like her high school experience helped in her transition to the college level, even though the game is much different in college. It’s obvious she has enjoyed her tutelage under coach Weiss.

“We have the best coach in the world,” Butler said. “She’s perfect.”

Petsinger, a self-described aggressive golfer, said Weiss has helped her play smarter.

“My course management has improved so much under her,” Petsinger said.

With Petsinger and Butler leading the way, the Gophers look to improve this year after placing ninth at the Big Ten championships a year ago. Butler, Petsinger and Weiss stated a common goal of a top five finish and advancing to regionals.

Weiss feels confident about the direction her team is headed.

“I think after this past weekend it shows that we’ve really got what it takes to win events and play very close to par,” she said.

This weekend the women’s golf team heads to Columbus, Ohio, to play in the Lady Northern Invitational, a preview to this spring’s Big Ten championship.

“I think momentum is high after a win,” Weiss said. “We’re heading into this with high expectations.”

And two close teammates setting the tone.