Minnesota posts season-best score in seventh-place finish

The Gophers finished strong and took advantage of an easier course.

Nickalas Tabbert

The Gophers men’s golf team shot 8-over par to finish seventh out of 14 teams at the Snowman Getaway Invitational in Goodyear, Ariz.

Minnesota on Monday shot its lowest round of the season, 287, at the Palm Valley Golf Club. The team also recorded its lowest tournament score of the season, 872, in the 54-hole event.

Missouri took home the trophy with a team score of 853, seven better than host Washington State.

Gophers coach John Carlson said the course is one of the easiest the team will see this year and featured manageable greens.

“The course was there for the taking,” he said.

Carlson said the Gophers’ seventh-place finish doesn’t reflect their improvements.

“Shooting 1-under [par] the last two days was certainly a step in the right direction,” Carlson said. “Our team drove the ball really well on the par 5’s this week.”

Minnesota golfers were a combined 11-under par on par 5’s in Tuesday’s round.

 Minnesota had top-10 finishes from junior Jon Trasamar, senior Robert Bell and freshman Jon DuToit.

Trasamar, who finished tied for sixth with Bell, shot under par in the first two rounds. He had six birdies in his second round to shoot a 4-under 68, his lowest of the season.

Carlson said Trasamar putted well in his first two rounds and was able to keep the ball in play off the tee.

Trasamar played as an individual in tournaments last fall, meaning his score did not count toward the team’s total.

“We’re starting to see some changes that we made in the offseason really come through for him,” Carlson said. “This [finish] will definitely, from a momentum standpoint, set him up to hopefully have a great spring.”

DuToit was under par in his final two rounds, including a 2-under par second round. He took advantage of the par-5 holes, scoring 5-under on them for the tournament.

“You want to take advantage of the easy par 5’s that you can kind of play like par 4’s,” he said.

DuToit said taking advantage of par 5’s allows him to be more aggressive on shorter holes.

After setting career-highs for tournament finish and score this week, DuToit said he wants to keep swinging to improve his ball-striking.

Bell played as an individual in this week’s tournament. He bookended rounds of 1-over par with a round of 4-under par that included two eagles on par 5’s.

Carlson said Bell lost a 36-hole playoff to freshman Charlie Braniff to play for the team in the tournament, but the senior showed he’s returning to form in time for a majority of the spring season.

Senior Erik Van Rooyen, the Gophers’ best golfer from the fall, finished tied for 35th. He struggled in his first two rounds before scoring 4-under par Tuesday.

Minnesota will travel to Georgia on March 23-24 to play in the Linger Longer Invitational.