Minnesota plagued by inconsistent play in N.M.

The Gophers took a step back with an eighth-place finish over the weekend.

Minnesota's Jose Mendez plays at the season opening Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farm Golf Club Sept. 8.

Chelsea Gortmaker, Daily File Photo

Minnesota’s Jose Mendez plays at the season opening Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farm Golf Club Sept. 8.

Jake Stark

Minnesota head coach John Carlson said inconsistent play plagued the Gophers this weekend in New Mexico.

The team finished eighth out of 17 teams over the weekend at the Tucker Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.

 The Gophers were tied for second place heading into the final three holes of the second round Friday. But they struggled to close out the round.

Carlson said that poor finish led to a letdown in Saturday’s final round.

“I felt like our team’s play was exactly where I felt our preparation was at,” he said. “We have a lot to do in practice to make sure that final day doesn’t happen again.”

The Gophers finished 39-over par as a team. In the same tournament last year, the team shot 26-over par and finished in a tie for fourth place.

Carlson said the weather conditions made this year’s event much more challenging.

“There were between 20- and 35-mile-per-hour winds the entire first day,” he said. “That made it very difficult to play.”

Gophers’ freshman Jose Mendez was the lowest-scoring player on the team for the second weekend in a row. He finished the tournament at 6-over par and tied for 14th place.

“He’s got all the makings to be an All-American right away in his freshman year,” Carlson said.

No. 4 New Mexico, the tournament host, shot an aggregate 1-under par to win the team title.

Second-place Arizona State finished 17-over.

New Mexico’s Gavin Green and Andrej Bevins both finished 5-under par to share the individual title.

Carlson said he may need to start making some lineup changes in order for the Gophers to improve.

The team will play a 72-hole qualifying tournament this weekend to determine who will compete in the future, he said.

Carlson said every golfer on the team will have to compete in the tournament except Mendez, who has established himself as Minnesota’s best player.

“We will learn from letting really good opportunities slip away from us this weekend,” he said. “I expect this to be the most completive qualifying tournament we’ve had in my three years as head coach.”