After the first day of the three-day NCAA Midwest Regional in Norman, Okla. on Thursday, the Gophers were tied with Tulsa for 14th place out of 21 teams with a one-round 297.
Texas A&M was first with a 279, eight strokes ahead of Texas Christian, Oklahoma and Texas, which all tied for second place. The top 10 teams and the top two individuals not on one of those teams will advance to the NCAA championships June 1-7 in Chicago.
Freshman Martin Le Mesurier led the team, tying for 35th after shooting a 1-over-par 73. Despite having the top score on the team, Le Mesurier, the 1997 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was clearly not pleased with his performance.
“I really didn’t play all that good,” Le Mesurier said. “I was very average today.”
Junior Rob Kerr tied for 46th with a first-round 74, one stroke ahead of senior captain Mark Halverson and sophomore Bill Thompson, who tied for 60th. Sophomore Andy Komor finished in a tie for 92nd with a 6-over, 78.
The favorable conditions at the University of Oklahoma Golf Course, which included 75-degree weather and no wind, contributed to the low scores.
Although Minnesota had an improved performance on Thursday, it is evident that the team needs to play better over the next two days if it is to avoid repeating its recent playoff history.
Last year the Gophers narrowly missed making it the finals by two strokes. The team has made it to regionals the last five seasons, but has only advanced to the NCAA championships once during the last four years.
“We will need to shoot much lower the next couple of days,” junior Rob Kerr said. “But I know we’re very capable of that.”