Minnesota is seventh at snowy Big Tens

The Gophers improved on a last-place finish at last year’s tournament.

David McCoy

All season, Minnesota’s women’s golf team had relied on strong final rounds to carry it.

But at this weekend’s Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Gophers never got that chance.

Minnesota sat in a weather-weary seventh place through the first three rounds Friday and Saturday, but Sunday’s final round was snowed out, and that’s where the team finished.

“There was probably 2 or 3 inches of snow in the ground (Sunday),” sophomore Sophie Stubbs said. “We took photographs, because it was pretty funny. There’s no way you would have even been able to see your ball land. It would have been impossible to play.”

Ohio State won the championship with a 36-over-par 900. The Buckeyes swept the top four places individually, with Kristen White taking medalist honors with a 6-over 222.

Stubbs led the Gophers, tying for 22nd individually. Stubbs’ 24-over score put her two shots ahead of teammate Sarah Butler.

Stubbs, a Telford, England, native, said her acclimation to playing in the poor weather helped her stay steady while some of her teammates struggled.

“Being from where I’m from, I’m used to playing in the rain and playing in rain gear,” Stubbs said. “We play through a lot of rain back home, so I think that’s a lot of it.”

With its 101-over scores of 319, 317 and 329, Minnesota’s seventh-place finish is a marked improvement over last season’s dead-last finish, and it is its best since the 2000-01 season, when the team advanced to NCAA Central Regionals.

But it wasn’t good enough to extend the Gophers’ season this time.

Coach Katie Hanneman said Saturday’s conditions were the worst she’d ever seen.

The players agreed.

“Some of the holes, you’d be hitting three clubs more than you needed on practice day,” Stubbs said. “There was winds like 30 miles an hour straight into your face, and the snow was coming with the wind directly at you, and the ground was wet.”

Hanneman said she knew the probability that Sunday’s round could be canceled and tried to prepare her team to play well in the early rounds – something the Gophers had been having trouble doing.

Hanneman said she was not disappointed in Minnesota’s early rounds this time. Although every team struggled with the weather in the third round, Hanneman said it was just the last couple of holes that did Minnesota in.

“On the 15th hole, I think we were actually in fifth place,” Hanneman said. “And the last three holes of the day killed us. We had it going there for a little while, and I think it just got to be unbearable.”

Still, senior Terra Petsinger said she wishes the Gophers had another chance to bear it and improve their finish with another solid final round.

“After Saturday, we weren’t excited to play in that weather again,” Petsinger said. “But I know we were only six shots behind sixth-place (Iowa), and we truly believed we could have moved up a spot if we could have played another round.”