Van Rooyen’s disqualification casts shadow on weekend

Minnesota finished sixth in its regular season finale.

Drew Claussen

 

Minnesota’s Erik Van Rooyen shot a 2-under-par 70 in the first and third rounds of the Hawkeye Invitational, but those rounds bookended a second-round score that was disqualified.

The Gophers finished sixth out of 11 teams at the meet.

Van Rooyen’s 4-under-par 68 in the second round did not count because he signed an incorrect scorecard. He shot a six on the first hole, but it was recorded as a five, so he shot a 69 that was recorded as a 68.

Van Rooyen’s playing partners verified the score, and the team learned of the disqualification Sunday morning before the final round.

Head coach John Carlson said he was disappointed but found a silver lining in the way Van Rooyen responded in the final round.

“I was worried about Erik today,” Carlson said on Sunday. “He really responded pretty well. … He shot 2-under-par, which was one of the better scores of the day.”

The disqualification did not eliminate Minnesota from the team competition because only the top four scores from each team’s individuals are counted in the team competition. Not counting Van Rooyen’s score cost the Gophers six shots.

With the disqualification, Van Rooyen finished in last place individually; had his second 69 round been counted, he would have finished tied for third. Carlson called the disqualification a “hard lesson” and said that he hoped it wouldn’t hurt the junior’s NCAA chances.

“His ranking will suffer because of [the loss],” Carlson said. “Hopefully it was high enough before this tournament that he can still have a good Big Ten championship and make it through as an individual.”

David Haley Jr. shot a 5-over-par 221 over the three-round tournament and finished tied for 28th.

Sophomore Alex Gaugert shot 73-74-80 — 227 in his first action since the Gopher Invitational last September. Carlson said that he was impressed with Gaugert’s first rounds but that he, like the rest of the team, needs to work on closing tournaments out in the final round.

“I think it was a mixture of the conditions and maybe expectations,” Carlson said. “In playing well [Saturday], he probably maybe put too much pressure on himself today.”

Gusty winds swirled during the final round at the Finkbine Golf Club in Iowa City, Iowa.

Minnesota shot 884 as a team, good for sixth place. Host Iowa shot 840 to finish first, and Iowa State shot 842 and finished second.

The Hawkeyes and Cyclones packed the top-10 individually with eight golfers, including individual champion Nate McCoy from Iowa State.

Minnesota will have a weekend off before the Big Ten championships. The team will use that time to hold a qualifying round and try to pick up the best five golfers for the championships. That, along with players’ individual improvements, is the main goal for the next two weeks, Carlson said.

“The main thing is everyone will look at their statistics from this week and figure out where we need to get better,” Carlson said. “We are still a long ways away from driving it like I would like to see.”

The first-year head coach Carlson said multiple times that he would like to see his team play better in the final rounds of tournaments. Over Minnesota’s last four events, it has averaged 7.25 more strokes in the final round compared to the second round.

“I have been disappointed with our final-round performance overall in the spring,” Carlson said. “A couple of the players played considerably better in the fall that haven’t had very good spring seasons.”