Mendez leads team to fourth-place finish

Jake Stark

The Gophers men’s golf team finished fourth out of 14 teams in the annual tournament at Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind.

The Gophers were in fifth place entering the final round Sunday, but head coach John Carlson said improved conditions helped the team move up one spot.

It was the team’s first road trip of the season.

“The course is really difficult,” he said. “The wind was up the first day, but today the wind was down, and the scores were better across the board.”

The team’s scores improved by three shots each round.

Freshman Jose Mendez was the Gophers’ lowest-scoring golfer. He finished the tournament at 7-over par, enough for a ninth-place tie.

“This is the first of what I expect to be many top-10 finishes in his career,” Carlson said of Mendez.

Illinois dominated the tournament, shooting an aggregate 8-under par to win the team title. Auburn finished in an extremely distant second after the team shot 25-over par.

Illinois’ Thomas Detry finished at 4-under par and won the individual title. The top four individual scores all came from Illinois golfers.

Carlson said he was disappointed with the results and he expects more from his team.

“As a team, I wasn’t very happy with our results,” Carlson said. “We lost to Illinois by 50 strokes — that’s five-zero.”

Still, Carlson said he thinks his team will improve as the season progresses and will be able to compete with Illinois in the spring.

“We’re just trying to get our feet on the ground,” he said. “I think we’re certainly heading in a positive direction.”