With Big Ten Championships looming, Greve comes through at right time

The senior collected his first Big Ten player of the week honor Wednesday.

David McCoy

Minnesota men’s golf senior Ben Greve couldn’t have picked a better time for his breakthrough.

The last Big Ten Championships of his collegiate career is coming up this weekend at the University Ridge Golf Course in Verona, Wis.

And Greve is going into the tournament as the reigning Big Ten golfer of the week.

“It’s pretty cool,” Greve said. “It’s very exciting for me, because I was struggling up until last week. Now, I’m starting to peak, and it’s a big confidence boost for the team.”

Announced Wednesday, the award is the first of Greve’s career and is the last one of the season.

He shares the award with Indiana senior Jeff Overton and Penn State freshman Robert Rohanna.

The award comes after Greve tied with Overton for the win during the weekend’s Fossum Invitational.

Greve shot a career-low 66 in his final round, a career-low 210 for the tournament, and led Minnesota to the team title.

Greve, who Golfweek ranks as the nation’s 193rd-best, shares his first Big Ten golfer of the week award with good company.

Though Golfweek only ranks Rohanna as the nation’s 364th best individual, it ranks Overton – who collected his ninth golfer of the week award – as the seventh-best individual college golfer in the country.

“He’s a really good player,” Greve said. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well over tournaments over the years. He gets it done every week.”

Big Tens within reach

Minnesota leaves for Madison, Wis., today at 3 p.m. in one of the University’s vans.

Minnesota played at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove on Wednesday to determine who would go to Big Tens, and its lineup is now set.

Greve, Bronson La’Cassie, Niall Turner, Josh Persons and Ryan Paulson will compete for the Gophers.  

Paulson and freshman Michael Fiedler, who played instead of Paulson last week, tied in Wednesday’s qualifier.

James said he decided to reinsert Paulson because he is more experienced. Paulson said he felt great to be able to play again.

“It’s a relief to be back in the lineup,” Paulson said. “It definitely wasn’t fun to be sitting on the bench watching those guys play, but I played pretty well today in qualifying, so I’m just looking forward to winning the Big Ten Championship.”

Minnesota is ranked 24th in the latest Golfweek national rankings after winning the weekend’s Fossum Invitational, just three slots behind Michigan State, which is the top Big Ten team at No. 21. At No. 31, Purdue is the only other Big Ten team in the top 54.

And because Minnesota finished higher than all other Big Ten teams in each of its tournaments so far this season – except the Boilermaker Invitational when a poor second round caused them to fall behind Purdue, Illinois and Indiana – the Gophers are one of the favorites for the Big Ten title.

“I’d say us or Michigan State,” Greve said. “There are four or five teams capable of winning, so I’d say it’s a pretty equal playing field. But if we play our best game, or close, we definitely have a shot to win.”

If the Gophers do in fact win the Big Ten Championships, it would be their third in four years.

Ohio State won last year’s crown, but James didn’t list the Buckeyes as a serious contender this year.

“Minnesota, Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana – there’s your favorites,” James said. “But the Big Ten is a conference where anything can happen.”

Poor weather expected

The last round of this year’s Women’s Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., was canceled because of snow.

Now, it looks like this weekend’s men’s tournament in Madison is in for a tempest of its own.

Madison got a dusting of snow Monday, and thunderstorms are expected Friday, Saturday and Sunday – all three days of the tournament.

“It’s still better than cold and snow,” James said.

Greve had a little bit more serious of an approach to the likely poor conditions.

“If it is, it’ll just turn out to be a long weekend,” Greve said. “It’s frustrating, but we’ve always had pretty good results in bad weather. We’ll just have to be patient and remember it’s the same for everybody.”