U finishes a disappointing 11th at Big Ten meet

The Gophers had hoped to crack the top six at the conference meet.

by Adam Fink

Minnesota’s women’s golf team talked this season about ending on a positive note, cracking the top six in the standings and setting the foundation for the future.

While the future is set – the Gophers will lose only one senior – the team finished last at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

It is the second time in the last three years that the Gophers have finished in 11th place.

“My heart is just broken,” coach Katie Weiss said. “We have worked hard all year and we just didn’t get the scores to reflect that.”

Ohio State won the Big Ten title for the second consecutive year, but the course presented its challenges. Rain made the course soggy and it was also one of the most difficult courses because of its length and the positioning of bunkers.

Most teams’ scores indicated the difficulty. For example, last year’s last place finisher – Penn State – ended with a team score 1,241. This year seven teams had scores higher than the Lions.

“It made it very challenging,” said senior Katie Jacobson, who was the Gophers’ top finisher with a 29-over par. “You always want to do better. All you can do it work harder to improve.”

Jacobson also was the only Minnesota player to shoot two rounds under 80.

Individually, Indiana’s Danah Ford was the top finisher, ending the four rounds as the only golfer below par (1-under).

The Gophers’ Terra Petsinger completed the Scarlet Course with a final three-day score of 35-strokes-above-par.

Sophomore Sarah Butler finished 38-above-par and freshman Sophie Stubbs finished 45-above-par.

Freshman Louise Fleming and sophomore Jessica Thomas rounded on Minnesota’s scores.

“I thought we would be better,” Petsinger said. “How we finish is what we have to tell people for the next year. No one likes saying they finished last.”

The Gophers knew it would be a difficult three days after seeing eight other Big Ten teams last weekend at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational.

The Gophers got a solid look and expected a tough event from the competition.

“We played them,” Weiss said. “We knew them in and out.”

Three years ago the Gophers finished last at the Big Ten Championships while the program was on the chopping blocks. Last year, they finished in sixth place in Weiss’ first season.

And while the team might have regressed in the standings this year, the Gophers have gained experience and have the nucleus to improve.

Men’s golf moves to 10th

Although they have not played since April 11, Minnesota’s men’s golf team moved up to 10th in the latest GCAA/Precept Coaches poll.

The two-time defending Big Ten champion Gophers are the only ranked conference team and have been playing shorthanded all spring without sophomore Ryan Paulson, who dislocated his shoulder in February. He has missed the last four events.

However, Paulson is expected back when Minnesota returns to action this weekend at the Bruce Fossum/Taylor Made Invitational in East Lansing, Mich.