Gophers win Minnesota Invitational again

Minnesota senior Terra Petsinger won the individual title with a 6-over 222.

David McCoy

Earlier this week, Minnesota women’s golf team captain Terra Petsinger predicted a big improvement over last year for the rebuilding Gophers.

“Last year was last year,” she said, “and this year is this year.”

But the Gophers didn’t need to change a thing this weekend at the Minnesota Invitational.

And they didn’t, fortunately.

The Gophers repeated as champions of the tournament, and Petsinger defended her individual title with a 6-over 222.

Minnesota, with 12 golfers competing in the tournament, formed two teams of five. The other two Gophers – Ashley Bruun and Katie Boushard – competed as individuals.

After the first two rounds of the tournament, which were played Saturday, Minnesota’s “B” team shot rounds of 308 and 306 and led the Gophers’ “A” team by one stroke at the end of the day.

But Minnesota’s “A” team outshot the “B” team 318-322 Sunday to capture the win.

As usual, Petsinger was at her best. In both rounds one and three, she hit a 1-over 73.

Petsinger’s short game was very impressive, as she chipped in a birdie from the fringe on the fifth hole and nailed a 24-foot putt to birdie the eighth.

“My short game was really what got me going,” Petsinger said. “I guess I didn’t hit the ball particularly well, but I had a couple chip-ins and that got me through the round.”

Petsinger’s score in round three could have been substantially lower had she not missed three putts by less than three inches.

Sophie Stubbs, the top finisher for Minnesota’s “B” team, and the second finisher overall, ended up seven shots behind Petsinger.

She posted a 13-over score of 229 and finished one stroke ahead of third place “A” team member Sarah Butler.

It was the best collegiate performance of Stubbs’ young career.

“Her short game is really coming around,” Petsinger said. “She’s playing well right now, and she deserves a lot of credit for how well she played today.”

“I’m very excited,” the Telford, England, native said. “I played shabby all week (in practice) so I’m very pleased.”

Stubbs started the third round Sunday with a quadruple bogie on the first hole but bounced back with several impressive birdies, three of which she chipped in from off the green.

On the 17th, Stubbs hit a near-perfect drive that dropped within a foot of the pin. She tapped in for birdie.

“I knew I had to finish strong because I had just double-bogeyed (hole) 16 and I knew 18 was short,” she said. “So it was very nice to get so close. It took the pressure off a bit.”

Although she finished in fourth place – only four strokes behind Petsinger – Minnesota sophomore Samantha Braschler was not quite satisfied with her performance, even telling Stubbs, “I played horrible.”

“Today was pretty rough,” Braschler said. “I made stupid mistakes, and I should have scored a lot lower. But, overall, I put together a decent tournament. Not great by any means, but bearable.”

She was visibly frustrated on the 11th, smacking her club with her hand on two separate occasions.

“I hit a great shot, and it just ended up short,” Braschler said. “I just didn’t get up and down. It was really easy, and I didn’t do it.”

Minnesota sophomore Louise Fleming shot an even-par 72 in round two, which proved to be the best round of the tournament, en route to a fifth-place finish.

A true team player, Petsinger took the spotlight off her back-to-back victories and placed it where she thinks it belongs.

“I feel good about (winning the individual title),” she said. “But I’m even more excited about how everyone on our team played. It was the first tournament where I really felt like the majority of our team played solid.”