Women’s season over with 10th place finish

There wonâÄôt be an NCAA tournament berth for the womenâÄôs golf team this year, but that doesnâÄôt stop it from being one of the better seasons in program history. They needed a top-three finish at the Big Ten tournament this weekend in order to really have a shot at securing an at-large bid for the tournament, and didnâÄôt come close to that. Unable to recover from the tournamentâÄôs worst first-round score, they finished 10th out of 11 teams with a plus-131 over four rounds. Going into the tournament ranked No. 81 in the NCAA head-to-head rankings, the Gophers needed to jump a ways to be in position for an at-large bid. They had the opportunity to do that, had they been able to finish above some of the highly ranked Big Ten teams, like No. 9 Purdue, No. 17 Michigan State and No. 24 Ohio State. But Purdue ran away with it, and rightfully so, playing on their own course. The Boilermakers, the highest-ranked northern team in the country, finished 37 strokes ahead of second-place Michigan State. Ohio State finished third. âÄúWe just didnâÄôt compete well,âÄù associate head coach Kris Wessinger said. âÄúWe struggled to finish on the last few holes of each round and couldnâÄôt pull it all together. Now itâÄôs just time to move forward and learn from the mistakes we made.âÄù Players often spoke of the courseâÄôs difficulty in the weeks leading up to the tournament, but things got even worse over the weekend, when winds gusts in West Lafayette, Ind. often peaked between 25 and 30 miles per hour. Paige Bromen, who had one of the teamâÄôs better showings in her final tournament as a senior, said the winds were the worst theyâÄôd played in all season, and perhaps the worst she had dealt with in her life. âÄúIt just makes everything so much more difficult,âÄù Bromen, who finished at plus-34 over the four rounds, including a plus-five on the final one, said. âÄúOf course the entire field had to play it, but itâÄôs just tough. If you donâÄôt hit it solidly, the wind will take the spin off the ball and then push it past your target.âÄù The Gophers ended one of the best statistical seasons in program history, however. They came into the tournament with a stroke average of 77.5 per round, the second lowest average in school history, just behind the 2004-05 team, which also didnâÄôt make the NCAA tournament. Sophomore Teresa Puga, who shot a disappointing plus-37 on the weekend, set the team record for best scoring average in the fall and came into the tournament on pace to set the overall team record for stroke average in a season. âÄúThe fall was really great, the spring was a little more disappointing,âÄù Wessinger said. âÄúThe positive thing is that weâÄôre a young team and have some great young girls that will be juniors. WeâÄôll definitely keep improving.âÄù The menâÄôs team plays its Big Ten tournament next weekend in State College, Pa. They go into their final tournament with a fairly sure shot of making the NCAA tournament, barring a surprisingly poor finish. They come into the tournament ranked No. 64 in the NCAA head-to-head rankings, and associate head coach Andrew Tank has said that finishing in the top 70 should get them in.