Tough conditions and tough finish highlight weekend at Boiler Invite

Minnesota finished in last place at the weekend tournament in Indiana.

C.J. Spang

Coming off a pair of promising performances the previous two weekends, the 16th-ranked Minnesota’s men’s golf team took a step backward this weekend.

The Gophers finished in last place at the Boilermaker Invitational this weekend, shooting a 61-over par 925 – 43 shots behind tournament-winner Indiana.

“It’s obviously disappointing with our last-place finish,” coach Brad James said. “But that’s golf.”

It was a poor start that doomed Minnesota in its first tournament of the Big Ten season.

The Gophers were 11 strokes off the pace after one round and 30 strokes behind at the conclusion of Saturday’s second round, sitting in 10th place.

According to James, the weather was to blame for part of Saturday’s letdown as the temperature dipped below 30 degrees and the wind was blowing 20 to 30 mph.

“It was horrendous out here.” James said. “Some teams handled it and some teams didn’t, and we just happened to be one of them that didn’t.”

A 19-over par 307 in Sunday’s final round dropped the Gophers to last place – their worst finish of the season.

“It’s not good with a bunch of Big Ten teams there,” freshman Andy Paulson said. “They kinda have a one-up on us now that they beat us in that tournament.”

Senior Josh Persons was the highest Minnesota finisher for the third time in four tournaments. Persons finished tied for 17th at 10-over par.

Sophomore Clayton Rask was the next highest finished for the Gophers at 16-over par, putting him in a tie for 33rd place.

No one on the team shot a single round at even or under par.

“It was definitely disappointing,” Persons said. “It wasn’t a good week out there for any of us.”

One surprise in Minnesota’s lineup was the absence of junior Bronson La’Cassie – the Gophers’ two-time All-American.

“We sat Bronson out to give him a break,” James said. “But Bronson La’Cassie has been working hard and he’s ready to perform well.”

The rest of the team didn’t get a break as Minnesota played its fourth tournament in four weeks, and the fatigue might have caught up with them.

“I don’t know if it’s so much physical fatigue,” Persons said. “It just mentally wears on you after a while and that weather just kind of put us over the top.”

After the tournament James spoke to his team and gave them a few days off to do whatever they need to prepare for the final push. But the last-place finish isn’t as bad as it appears.

“There’s still work to be done,” James said. “We went back about five steps in Puerto Rico, we took about 10 steps forward the next three weeks and then we just took two back here, that’s all.”