Gophers tie for ninth in season opener, Doeden ties for 11th place in individual

Minnesota played in home individual and invitational meets over the weekend.

Junior Riley Johnson plays at the Windsong Golf Club during the Gopher Invitational on Sept. 13, 2015.

Image by Joe Sulik, Daily File Photo

Junior Riley Johnson plays at the Windsong Golf Club during the Gopher Invitational on Sept. 13, 2015.

by Drew Cove

In its first tournament of the season, Minnesota finished tied for ninth out of 15 teams at the Gopher Invitational over the weekend.

The first round had the Gophers “A” team tied for tenth with a score of 298, and after the second round they had settled into ninth with a second round score of 291 and a two-round total of 589. The Gophers three-round total was 884.

Senior Justin Doeden, who tied for 11thindividually, was the top Minnesota golfer of the weekend. He finished with a score of 3-over, 216 on the weekend, only six strokes behind tournament medalist, Oklahoma junior Grant Hirschman.

“I hit 17 of 18 greens [on Sunday], which was very important for my style of golf,” Doeden said. “I putted it solid, which lead to my minus-one round of golf.”

The next top Gophers performer of the weekend was junior Riley Johnson, who shot a 220 through the tournament.

“For me, I played pretty steady,” Johnson said. “I just hit a lot of good shots … I just got some good positions off the tee that helped me hit irons close enough to have birdie looks.”

Johnson was remarkably consistent through all three of his rounds, shooting 73, 73 and 74.

This tournament was played in rough weather conditions, most notably high winds.

“The wind wreaked havoc today,” head coach John Carlson said. “Friday in the practice round there was no wind, and today it was gusting up to 25 or 30 miles per hour. You have to change your game plan, you have to try to stay patient and understand that par is a good score.”

Senior Jose Mendez and freshman Mason Fiddle also had strong showings.

Mendez shot a 10-over 223 on the weekend to finish tied for 37th out of 78 golfers. Mendez, a two-time All-Big Ten First Team honoree, enters his final season with an impressive resume.

“[Mendez is] a first-class student athlete,” Carlson said. “I was happy to see him play a lot more steady.”

Fiddle participated in his first collegiate tournament this weekend and had the best score on the team through the first 36 holes.

He fired a 71 in the first round and a 74 in the second round, which was tied for 24th after the 36-hole day one.

The Gophers travel to Ohio for a tournament at the Inverness Club next week, and the team is looking forward to a more normal practice schedule leading up the tournament.

“We’re going to have a few good days of practice,” Carlson said. “[The Inverness tournament] is at a tough golf course but a different golf course.”