The Gophers men’s golf team earned its best finish of the season during the weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational.
Minnesota finished tied for third out of 12 teams with a score of 16-over par at the Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, Iowa.
Kansas won the meet at 3-over par, while rival Iowa finished second.
Junior Alex Gaugert finished fourth individually to lead Minnesota. He shot a career-best 68 in the second round Saturday and was tied for the lead heading into the final round.
Gaugert said he hit his approach shots to the green where he wanted to in the first two rounds.
Gaugert, the Gophers’ No. 5 player, had a two-stroke lead Sunday with five holes to play but shot 5-over par in the final five holes. He finished three shots behind the winners.
“I was just really trying to enjoy the day,” he said. “You play to be in those positions. You don’t play to play for 10th position.”
Coach John Carlson, who walked with Gaugert throughout the tournament, said nerves and missed shots led to Gaugert’s struggles on the final holes.
Minnesota had all five of its players finish in the top 40.
Senior Erik Van Rooyen finished two shots behind Gaugert and tied for sixth place. He had the low score for Minnesota on Sunday, a 2-under-par 70.
Senior Robert Bell and sophomore Tyler Lowenstein finished tied for 32nd at 10-over par. Freshman Jon DuToit finished tied for 37th in his return to the lineup after battling tendinitis in his wrist.
Scoring was higher in the second round due to higher winds, Carlson said. There was no rain.
Gaugert said the team will take away the experience of being near the top of the leaderboard. He said the team learned about dealing with the pressure of trying to close out a tournament.
Carlson said this weekend was a step in the right direction for the program.
The Gophers will travel to Penn State next weekend for the Rutherford Intercollegiate. Carlson said his team will be the favorite to win the tournament.