Van Rooyen slips to third-place tie at LSU Invitational

Drew Claussen

 

The Gophers men’s golf team traveled to the LSU Invitational with the goal of getting on track before the upcoming Big Ten championships.

Junior Erik Van Rooyen seemed to do that.

Van Rooyen shot 69-69-74 — 212 on the weekend, and Minnesota finished seventh in the 12-team field.

Head coach John Carlson said Van Rooyen returned close to the level he was at  last season.

“This was the Erik Van Rooyen that finished fourth at the Big Ten last year,” Carlson said. “This was a much more confident player, a more confident putter, and his iron game was impeccable.”

He held the lead of the tournament after two rounds Saturday. But his 2-over-par round Sunday and a 7-under-par round from LSU’s Austin Gutgsell dropped Van Rooyen into a tie for third.

Van Rooyen made eight birdies and one eagle during the first two rounds of the competition. He bogeyed three of his first four holes Sunday and played one-under after that.

“I was really happy with the way he finished,” Carlson said. “Finishing tied for third against this level of competition at LSU is definitely a notch for him.”

Teams played the invitational at the par-72 University Club in Baton Rouge, La.

Gutgsell shot 207 on the weekend and was the lowest-shooting individual at the invitational. LSU won the team portion of its own invite and shot 853. The Gophers trailed the Tigers by 38 shots and shot 296-291-304 — 891 on the weekend.

Gophers junior Robert Bell shot 74-77-74 — 225 and finished tied for 29th. David Haley Jr. shot 75-73-78 — 226 and finished tied for 35th. Freshman Tyler Lowenstein shot 232 and finished 50th, and Jon Trasamar shot 233 and finished tied for 51st. The invitational featured 65 golfers.

Minnesota sat in fourth after the first day but dropped during Sunday’s final round.

“I thought the first day was the best we’ve played as a team,” Carlson said. “Unfortunately [Sunday] we didn’t end it with the type of play that I was hoping for.”

After traveling to play in tournaments three weekends in a row, the Gophers will take a week off before competing in the Hawkeye Classic. The competition in Iowa City, Iowa, will be Minnesota’s final regular season event before the Big Ten championships.

“Eighteen of the last 23 days we’ve been off campus,” Carlson said. “That’s a pretty rigorous schedule for any team.”

Carlson said the team would use the next week to try to solidify its Nos. 4 and 5 golfers in the lineup.