Minnesota blown away at last pre-Big Ten Tournament

Austin Cumblad

In its final tournament before the all-important Big Ten Championships, the Minnesota men’s golf team certainly didn’t make the progress it was hoping for.

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big ten championship
what: Women’s golf
when: All day, Friday-Sunday
where: University Park, Pa.

A year after tying for No. 1 as a team, the Gophers limped to a 16th place finish out of 17 teams Sunday at the U.S. Intercollegiate, carding a 54-hole total of 68-over par 908 at Stanford Golf Club.

Minnesota needs a team victory at the Big Ten Championships next weekend in order to advance to NCAA regional play, but the prospects of that have looked slim all season and are no better after the Gophers’ performance at Stanford.

up next

big ten championship
what: Men’s golf
when: All day, Friday-Sunday
where: East Lansing, Mich.

“The men have not performed this spring,” director of golf Brad James said. “It’s been kind of an indifferent year for the team.”

Indeed, it has been a month and a half of poor individual and team finishes for Minnesota.

The Gophers have landed in the bottom four of every tournament they have played this spring, and senior Clayton Rask is still the only Minnesota golfer to record a top-20 finish, tying for sixth at the rain-shortened Augusta State Invitational.

Even a shakeup in the roster for the tournament didn’t help, as juniors Patrick Datz and Yu Katayama, who replaced junior Victor Almstrom and sophomore Ben Pisani, struggled to finishes of T-74 and 76, respectively.

Associate head coach Andrew Tank will bring Almstrom and Pisani back for the conference tournament, and he hopes giving them a rest and some time to work on their game will pay off.

“Getting those guys back in the lineup I think is going to be a key,” Tank said. “Hopefully the time off will help them be prepared better for next weekend.”

Women finish 11th

When a team breaks 80 only five times in the course of three rounds, the results tend to be disappointing.

The Minnesota women’s golf team is all too aware of that.

The Gophers finished two strokes out of last place Sunday at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, carding a 54-hole total of 99-over par 963. They sat in seventh after the first round, but a Saturday afternoon 332 dropped Minnesota to the back of the pack and the Gophers were unable to recover.

No Minnesota golfer managed to fire a round in the 70s during the 332 effort, and the Gophers recorded only three birdies as a team.

Associate head coach Kristine Wessinger said the golf course was playing difficult, and Minnesota’s shortcomings were magnified.

“We’ve got some improving to do,” she said. “And your weaknesses come out on tougher golf courses.”

Indeed, the Gophers left The Ohio State University Scarlet Course with 31 double bogeys or worse and only 14 birdies.

The highlight of the tournament was an eagle courtesy of junior Paige Bromen on the par-5 14th hole. Unfortunately, it was sandwiched between four bogeys and came en route to an 84.

But Bromen was hardly the only Minnesota golfer to struggle with consecutive bogeys. Every Gopher except freshman Teresa Puga had a string of at least three over-par holes, and Wessinger keyed on that fact as an example of a weakness exposed by the tough weekend.

“I think that’s just a mental thing,” she said. “Not completely forgetting about the last hole and then getting up on the tee shot and making another bad swing.”