Minnesota finishes tied for eighth in shortened Hawkeye Invitational

Riley Johnson finishes in top ten for first time in his career

Riley Johnson plays at the Windsong Golf Club during the Gopher Invitational on Sept. 13, 2015.

Joe Sulik

Riley Johnson plays at the Windsong Golf Club during the Gopher Invitational on Sept. 13, 2015.

by Max Biegert

Even when conditions got tough with wind, rain and cold, senior Riley Johnson put together his best finish with Minnesota in Iowa City, Iowa.  

He finished tied for eighth. Minnesota finished tied for sixth among 13 teams in the Hawkeye Invitational, which ended Saturday.

“He sets the example for everyone else, it doesn’t matter what the conditions are, doesn’t matter what round— he is ready for that stage,” head coach Justin Smith said. “Even though today a good score was 77, he was still able to have the best finish of his career.”

Originally scheduled for three rounds of golf, the Hawkeye Invitational was cut to a 36-hole tournament because of inclement weather. Smith described the weather as windy, wet and cold. The best team score on the final day was 11-over par, earned by Iowa, who finished one shot out of first place. The previous day, the best round came from Iowa State as eight-under par.

Iowa State finished on top in the tournament with a total score of seven-over par. The Gophers finished tied for sixth with a total score of 602, 26-over par. Johnson was the only player for the Gophers in the top ten. 

“It was certainly quite the mental test today; we could have handled it a little bit better, but the reality is, it is what it is,” Smith said. “Our guys competed as hard as they could, but we just didn’t execute like we wanted.”

The Gophers entered the final day in a tie for third with a score of three-under, only five shots behind the lead, which was held by Iowa State. Jeremy Gandon of Kansas State won the individual competition, finishing with an eight-under 136. 

Three Minnesota golfers were in the top ten at the end of day one. Johnson, freshman Angus Flanagan and senior Runar Arnorsson were all tied for fifth.

Iowa State finished on top with a total score of seven-over. Flanagan shot eight-over on the final day to finish tied for 21st, Arnorsson finished seven-over for a tie for 26th. 

Thomas Longbella finished tied 40th with a 10-over score and Peter Jones finished tied 68th. 

The Gophers’ next tournament will be in Maryland for the Big Ten Championships. 

“We got to get back to basics and work as hard as we can in our practice facility, but we keep pushing ahead whether the weather is good and bad,” Smith said.