Gophers fail to become eligible for postseason

With an 8th-place finish at the Big Ten tournament, Minnesota finished below the requisite .500 for making the NCAA tournament.

by Nick Sudheimer

This certainly was not how the Minnesota menâÄôs golf team wanted to end its season.

With an eighth-place finish at the Big Ten championships at the Birck Boilermaker Golf ComplexâÄôs Kampen Course over the weekend, the Gophers are ineligible for the NCAA regional qualifier and end their season in disappointment.

After finishing the first round in fourth place, the Gophers slowly slipped as the weekend progressed, falling as low as ninth Saturday before shooting the second-lowest final round âÄî a 283 âÄî and finishing eighth.

The Gophers were led by sophomore Erik Van Rooyen, who finished a season-best fourth place with a 72-hole total of 3-over-par 291. The sophomore shot the third-best final round with a 3-under 69.

While Minnesota is a young team and will lose only two seniors âÄîDonald Constable and Cameron White âÄî Constable will be sorely missed next season as his play over the past two years has been one of the primary reasons for any success the Gophers have had.

Constable ended an illustrious two-year career with Minnesota by finishing tied for 26th âÄî his worst finish of the spring. As a transfer to Minnesota after two years at the University of Texas, the Wayzata, Minn. native had an immediate impact on the program, finishing last season with the second-lowest stroke average on the team âÄî 74.81 âÄî and three top-20 finishes.

As a senior, Constable took his game to the next level, finishing in the top-20 in every regular season tournament and finishing in the top-10 five of those times. Constable led the team in nearly every statistical category including stroke average (72.07), lowest 18-hole round (66) and finishing as high as second place this season.

Though White was not quite as prominent as Constable, he had some nice finishes as well, recently finishing in the top 20 at the Robert Keppler Invitational last weekend. White ended his Gophers career with a 36th-place finish at the Big Ten tournament.

The Big Ten tournament also marks the end of the programâÄôs first full year under new Director of Golf John Harris. The Gophers finished with a record of 63-73-3, a slight improvement over last seasonâÄôs 55-87-2 record.

Still, after being one of the top teams in the Big Ten for the past 15 years, this marks MinnesotaâÄôs second consecutive mediocre season.

But the current team has no juniors, meaning none of MinnesotaâÄôs 11 returning players will be seniors next season.