Men have yet to set a solid five to compete this fall

The fourth and fifth slots in the Gophers’ lineup still remain up for grabs.

Nick Heronimus

After the completion of the Ping Preview this past weekend, Minnesota is still searching to fill out a consistent, competitive roster each week.

The Gophers have been solid at the top of their lineup with senior Clayton Rask and junior Victor Almstrom. Almstrom has placed in the top five in both events for the Gophers this season. Rask has placed in the top 20 in both events this season, including a top five finish at the Gopher Invitational.

Associate head coach Andrew Tank has been extremely pleased with how his two veterans have been performing, but wants the other men to solidify the rest of the spots in the lineup.

“Clayton and Victor have demonstrated that they belong,” Tank said.

Tank went on to say that the other guys are looking to get to that same level and show that they belong as well.

The Gophers have had individuals who have shown flashes of potential for filling the fourth and fifth roster spots, but no one has fully stepped up to the challenge. Rask knows that to be successful this season it will take a full lineup that is consistent.

“We have potential to do great things, but it is a matter of putting our five together,” Rask said.

Tank also feels that there is a list of guys who have the talent to fill the roster spots.

“I’d say there are four or five guys that are trying to get in that fourth or fifth spot,” Tank said.

To help facilitate the formation of a solid starting five, the coaching staff has been working hard to help get the other guys to a higher level of competition.

“The guys that are developing sometimes need that extra attention to get to the level they need to compete at,” Tank said.

Gophers ink new recruit

The Minnesota women’s golf program announced the signing of Teresa Puga last Wednesday.

Puga is a top competitor in Spain and is a member of the Spanish National Team.

She finished second at the International Spanish Junior Championship and third at the 2007 Grand Prix de Landes with scores of 72-71-66-73.

Puga will not be eligible for competition this fall, but will be an important addition to the Gopher’s 2008 spring squad.

“We are thrilled to welcome Teresa to the Golden Gopher golf program,” Director of Golf Brad James said. “She is one of the top junior players in Europe and will be a great addition to our program. We expect her to contribute immediately in the spring.”

Puga will join a Minnesota roster that already includes two sophomores and three freshmen, which might allow the potential for a young roster to grow into a formidable starting five for the future.

Gopher golf notes

• When Puga joins the Gopher women’s squad this spring she will represent only the second foreign-born player on the current roster. The only current player is Young Na Lee of Tamuning, Guam.

The Gopher men, on the other hand, have a roster which includes five foreign-born players. Those players are: Victor Almstrom of Vallingby, Sweden; Thomas Campbell of Abbotsford Dunedin, New Zealand; Alexander Culverwell of New London, Scotland; Yu Katayama of Tokyo, Japan; and Ben Pisani of Brisbane, Queensland.

• Both the men and the women’s programs will be off until the first weekend in October.

• For the first time this season, Tank acted as head coach for the Gophers’ men’s golf team at the Ping Preview.

• Victor Almstrom fired a career best 5-under-par 211 at the Ping Preview to earn second-place honors.