First two rounds too much for another comeback

The Gophers finished last out of 13 teams at Purdue despite the third-best final round.

David McCoy

Minnesota’s women’s golf team has been relying on comebacks all spring.

And once again, Minnesota came through with another solid finish Sunday in the weekend’s Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind.

Trouble was, Minnesota already dug its hole way too deep to get back out.

Led by Samantha Braschler’s team-high 73 in the final round, the Gophers shot the third-lowest score of the day Sunday with a 302. But scores of 325 and 317 in the first two rounds were too much for Minnesota to overcome, as it finished last out of 13 teams with an 80-over-par 944.

“I’m definitely looking up; I always try to look at the positives,” coach Katie Hanneman said. “But we’ve got to figure out how to get out of the blocks better and get that rush of momentum.”

Minnesota’s score of 325 was the worst of the first round and the tournament, and the 317 was the worst of the second round.

A 66-over score after day one put them a full 20 shots behind even 12th-place East Carolina after round one.

With a final score of 80-over, Minnesota finished just two shots behind Jacksonville State and six behind Wisconsin.

“Twenty shots are very difficult to make up in one round,” Hanneman said.

A final-round 292 by Michigan tied the best round of the tournament and pushed the Wolverines into a tie for first with Texas Christian. The Wolverines and Horned Frogs shot 46 strokes better than the Gophers.

Both Braschler, who finished tied for 26th, and Terra Petsinger, who led Minnesota in a tie for 18th, said nervousness and pressure were the biggest catalysts for the stagnant starts.

Aside from the mental aspects, Petsinger said that when the Gophers head back to practice this week, the biggest thing they can improve upon is getting their shots onto the green after an initial miss.

“Now that we’re outside – a lot of up and downs,” Petsinger said. “Because that’s really where most of the strokes add out. You’re not going to hit every green, but you have to be able to get up and down if you miss the green.”

As for the outcome of this tournament, it’s tough to say whether it was a step back for Minnesota because of the terrible start or a step forward because the terrific final round gives them momentum heading into the Big Ten Championships in two weeks.

“I wouldn’t consider it either,” Braschler said Sunday. “Of course, the first round was a step back. But we played strong today, so it evens itself out.”