Gophers still on the hunt for a victory

Minnesota again finished in the middle of the pack.

John Hageman

The Gophers menâÄôs golf team finished in the middle of the pack again Monday, as they shot a 5-under 563 to take seventh out of 15 teams at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational in Fairfax, Calif. The tournament was supposed to wrap up with a third and final round Tuesday, but it was cancelled due to rain. Host California won the event, shooting a 23-under 545, including a 17-under 267 second round to win its second tournament of the year. Bears junior Stephen Hale took medalist honors for the second time in his career by shooting 10-under for the two rounds. Senior Ben Pisani continues to lead the Gophers, as he posted a 6-under 136 âÄî good enough for a tie at sixth overall. Last week , Pisani was named Golfweek MagazineâÄôs âÄúPlayer to WatchâÄù for the 2009-10 season and is ranked No. 23 in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings. Pisani has a 70.27 stroke average in 11 rounds so far this year; both are team highs. But Pisani said the recognition will not change how he goes about his game. âÄúAt the end of the day, I just have to try to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots possible,âÄù Pisani said. âÄúIf you get something like that, itâÄôs nice, but it doesnâÄôt really make a difference to how I go about things.âÄù Redshirt freshman Davi d Haley impressed by finishing in a tie for 19th at 2-under-par, his best finish with Minnesota. Freshman S hang Zhi followed in a tie for 44th, ending at 3-over for the tournament. The event was ZhiâÄôs first tournament with the team, which is an experience that director of golf Brad James said will speed up his progress as a player. Sophomore Derek Chang and freshman Erik Van Rooyen rounded out the Gophers lineup with a 5-over-par and 7-over-par, respectively. Despite the disappointing finish, associate head coach Andrew Tank said he was satisfied with the teamâÄôs play. âÄúI feel like thereâÄôs been a lot of improvement, especially in the last two weeks,âÄù Tank said. âÄúI know both coach James and I are really happy with the direction things are heading right now.âÄù While the team may have shifted its lineup in recent events, James said the goal is to now improve individuals and move toward a more solidified lineup in the spring. The Gophers head to Greensboro, N.C., for the Bridgestone Championships on Oct. 24-25.