Minnesota finishes fifth at Big Tens

Carmen Laguna led the team and tied for ninth with an 11-over par.

Carmen Laguna practices putting Tuesday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn. A native of Spain, Laguna is one of three international golfers on this year’s team.

Daily File Photo, Christopher Selleck

Carmen Laguna practices putting Tuesday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn. A native of Spain, Laguna is one of three international golfers on this year’s team.

David Nelson

After navigating the latter half of the spring season with solid outings, the Gophers maintained that momentum at the Big Ten championships with a fifth-place finish in the team standings.

“We held our own,” head coach Michele Redman said. “Hopefully the finish will be good enough for us to get into the regionals.”

Michigan State and Ohio State shared the Big Ten title after both teams finished with a score of 895. Northwestern followed in third place.

Minnesota has finished in eighth place at the conference tournament in each of the last two seasons, but it moved up three spots this year under Redman’s guidance.

“We’re improving,” she said. “This isn’t exactly where I want the team [to be], but each year we’ve gotten a lot better.”

Gophers junior Carmen Laguna led the way for the team this weekend, tying for ninth in the individual standings.

“I was pretty happy overall [with my performance],” she said.

Some of Minnesota’s best performances came on the final day of competition, which featured an aggregate team score of 297.

Redman said she wished those scores would have come earlier in the competition.

“We had a good finish,” she said. “I think to come back and tie for the second-lowest round today is really good for us, especially after the way we started out.”

Gophers junior Sarinee Thitiratanakorn followed Laguna as the team’s second finisher, putting together her best performance of the spring season.

Thitiratanakorn scored 75, 80 and 75 during the three-day tournament to finish in the top 20.

“I just tried to focus on making par,” she said, “[and] just have fun on the course.”

Minnesota junior Anna Laorr, freshman Emie Peronnin and senior Banchalee Theinthong rounded out Minnesota’s scoring lineup over the weekend.

Now the Gophers’ focus shifts to Monday night’s NCAA selection show — the first ever.

Redman said whether her team or any individuals make the cut or not, she dubs this a successful season.

“I feel like each year we’ve continued to improve,” she said. “I think we deserve to get in [to regionals].”

Minnesota hosts qualifying tournament

A group of four individuals from the Gophers men’s golf team competed at the SJU Spring Invitational at Saint John’s University with hopes of earning the fifth and final spot on the Big Ten roster.

Though the team aimed to have its fifth spot finalized this weekend, a rained-out Sunday forced Minnesota to postpone its plans.

On Saturday, freshman Grady Meyer finished the day in second place — the Gophers’ highest finisher.

“He’s been a winner in high school,” head coach John Carlson said. “He’s used to playing well when the lights come on.”

Carlson said he’d still like to watch the four golfers play one more round before deciding who will round out his Big Ten roster.

“They all have had their shining moments,” he said. “I want to let them kind of settle it on the golf course tomorrow.”