Men and women struggle to keep pace with competition

by Brian Deutsch

Sunday’s final round wasn’t so easy for the Minnesota men’s golf team this weekend at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational as four of the five participants for the Gophers recorded their worst rounds of the tournament -dropping the team to a 17th place finish.

In its worst team performance of the year, Minnesota fired a 46-over 910, 56 strokes behind tournament champion and host school, Georgia.

The No. 2 Bulldogs carded the lowest rounds in all three days of the invitational on the way to their second team title in less than a month.

Four members of the Georgia team finished in the top ten of the individual race including the eventual tournament winner, senior Chris Kirk.

Kirk, who is ranked ninth in the Golfweek/Sagarin performance index, fired a six-under 210 to take the individual title.

Minnesota was led by senior Niall Turner, who fired a four-over 220 to tie for 21st place in the individual race.

“We obviously struggled as a team,” Turner said. “We just need to learn from this weekend and carry that over to next week.”

Sophomore Victor Almstrom was in the top ten after the first round but like the majority of his teammates, a lackluster finale dropped him back to a 54th place tie with an 11-over 227.

Senior Bronson La’Casssie, usually one of the Gophers’ frontrunners along with Turner, finished with a tie for 58th after a final round 8-over 80 brought his tournament total to 12-over 228.

Junior Patrick Datz ended up in a tie for 86th with a 20-over 236 while freshman Ben Pisani finished in 88th place with a 22-over 238.

After the tournament, James didn’t hold back any feelings about how Datz performed.

“This should be a wake-up call for Patrick Datz, James said. “He needs to take a look in the mirror.”

Women’s golf

The Minnesota women’s golf team faired no better than the men, finishing last at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational this weekend.

The Gophers finished with a 107-over 654 – 67 strokes behind tournament winner Purdue.

“We need to work on different scenarios and play with our heads instead of going from trouble to more trouble,” coach Kristine Wessinger.

Boilermakers’ sophomore Maria Hernandez claimed the individual title with a one-over 147 – edging out junior Stacy Lewis of Arkansas by one stroke.

Sophomore Young Na Lee was Minnesota’s top finisher. Lee placed 36th with a 22-over, 238. Sophomore Sydney Liles and junior Kelli Berns tied for 46th overall at 24-over, 240, respectively.

Freshman Leslie Grabeman ended the tournament in a tie for 71st with her 31-over 166 while senior Samantha Braschler finished in a 78th place tie, three strokes behind Grabemand.

Freshman Christine Herzog shot Minnesota’s high score this weekend with a 40-over 176.