Men improve NCAA chances with fifth place finish

The women begin play at the Pinehurst Challenge today.

Nick Sudheimer

With another fifth-place finish this weekend at the Louisiana State University Invitational, the Minnesota menâÄôs golf team proved that it has the potential to be competitive not only at the Big Ten championships but in the NCAA tournament as well.

For the second consecutive week the Gophers matched their best outing of the season by finishing in fifth place and also finishing with two golfers in the top10.

Continuing his outstanding spring season, senior Donald Constable ended the weekend tied for third place, giving him his third top-10 finish of the season.

Next after Constable was sophomore Erik Van Rooyen, who finished in sixth place, his second top-10 finish of the season. The South Africa native has been the most consistent underclassmen on the roster and has been one of the key reasons for the GophersâÄô recent success.

Freshman Jon Trasamar continued his hot streak by tying for 21st, his second consecutive top-30 finish.

The weekend pushes the Gophers record to 49-54-3 and puts them only five wins away from being eligible for the NCAA tournament. In order to be eligible for the NCAA tournament, Minnesota must finish with a .500 record or better.

The Gophers have two tournaments remaining before the Big Ten championships, which start April 29.

Women travel to North Carolina

Heading into the Pinehurst Challenge today, the womenâÄôs golf team is looking to improve on a season that has already been one of the most successful in the programâÄôs recent history.

The Gophers have placed in the top-five in three of their past four tournaments and have placed outside the top10 only once the entire season.

The Gophers success can be largely attributed to the strong play of several seniors on the team.

In particular, Minnesota has been anchored by the stellar play of senior Teresa Puga, who in light of her 12th-place finish at the Mountain View Collegiate last weekend was named Big Ten golfer of the week for the second time this season.

Puga holds nearly every scoring record in program history and she recently added to her legacy by tying for medalist honors at the University of Central Florida Challenge in February. The seniorâÄôs performance there included a six-under-par round, which tied a Minnesota record set by Julie Gumlia in 1977.

The Gophers head to North Carolina today where they will participate in the Pinehurst Challenge at the renowned par-72 Pinehurst Golf Course.

Competing against 13 other teams, Minnesota will play 36 holes today and the final 18 holes Tuesday.

The Gophers lineup will feature seniors Puga, Mary Narzisi, Samantha Sommers, Michele Edlin, sophomore Jackie Shepherd and freshman Banchalee Theinthong.