Golf teams use weekend tournaments to tune up for end of the season

The women finished 11th while the men finished sixth in their respective tournaments.

Sophomore Evan Long plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Courtney Deutz

Sophomore Evan Long plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Nick Jungheim

With the season beginning to wind down, both the men’s and women’s golf teams completed in tournaments this weekend that served as tune-ups for their upcoming conference tournaments. 

Competing in the Rutherford Intercollegiate in State College, Pennsylvania, the men’s team finished in sixth place out of 13 teams. Meanwhile, in their last tournament of the regular season, the women’s team came in 11th competing in the Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.

On the men’s side, freshman Lincoln Johnson finished in a tie for 16th among individuals in the men’s tournament, posting a 4-over-par 217. Playing in his home state, sophomore Evan Long shot a 219 (+6) on the weekend, good for a 23rd place tie.

“I love being able to come back home,” Long said. “I was fortunate enough; I had a lot of family members and a lot of my friends actually came out for the event this week, so that was really cool for me to see.”

Every player in the Gophers’ lineup finished in the top 50. Redshirt sophomore Gus Minkin and freshmen Will Grevlos and Harry Plowman-Ollington all tied for 42nd with scores of 224 (+11).  Plowman-Ollington used a 1-under 70 on Sunday to jump 20 spots on the leaderboard, matching Johnson’s opening round for best 18-hole score of the weekend for a Gophers golfer.

“The cool thing was we played all sophomores and freshmen this week,” said men’s associate head coach Justin Smith. “We played every one of our freshmen. It’s amazing the potential of what’s going to come down the track the next couple years. It was a great opportunity to get them all some live tournament experience.

Overall, Minnesota finished with a 26-over 878. Junior Noah Rasinski also competed as an individual, finishing tied for 59th with a 229 (+16).

The tournament host, Penn State, took first place with a 855 (+3). Redshirt junior Drake Hull of Connecticut was the best individual finisher, ending his weekend with a 5-under 208.

Sophomore Grace Kellar led the way for the women’s team. After posting a stroke average of 76 in her first three tournaments of the spring, Kellar recaptured the form that made her the team leader with a 72.92 stroke average in the fall. After an opening-round 71 (-1) which saw her tied for fifth, Kellar finished tied for 13th among individuals with a 224 (+8).

“Grace got a putting lesson last weekend,” women’s head coach Michele Redman said. “It obviously helped, that’s been the biggest difference for her is putting.”

To match the format of the Big Ten Tournament, each team in the tournament had six players in their lineup. Behind Kellar, senior Muyu Wu tied for 29th with a 13-over 229. Sophomores Kate Lillie and Jessica Lee also got into the Gophers’ lineup and finished with a 232 and 245 respectively.

“This is probably not our best tournament this spring, but we’ve had a couple of other good ones,” Redman said. “I have a young team too, that’s the other part. We had four sophomores and a freshman in the lineup at a difficult golf course.”

Rounding out the lineup for the Gophers were freshman Karen Zhang, who shot a 247, and sophomore Joanne Free, who finished with a 253.

The Gophers combined for a 64-over 928. Scores were high throughout the field as the champions, Kent State, shot an 880 (+16). University of Indianapolis junior Pilar Echeverria was the only individual under-par, completing the weekend with a 215 (-1).

Next weekend, both teams will compete once again. The women will travel to Maineville, Ohio for the Big Ten Tournament while the men wrap up their regular season at the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa.