Gophers aim to improve at FAU Spring Break Invite

by Drew Claussen

 

The Gophers men’s golf team is coming off a 13th-place finish in a 14-team field at the Schenkel Invitational, but Minnesota can blame it on the weather.

Not the weather at the tournament, but poor conditions had prevented the Gophers from practicing on home courses. Minnesota went up against a field composed mostly of southern schools like Alabama, Florida and Auburn.

“It was one of the top fields in collegiate golf,” head coach John Carlson said. “It was primarily SEC and ACC teams, teams that may have been outside for the last four or five months.”

The Gophers had a solid second round sandwiched between two not-so-great rounds.

Minnesota shot 300-284-300 — 884 on the tournament in Statesboro, Ga. It finished only one shot under last place.

The low score in the second round was due in part to a career-low score by David Haley Jr.

Haley tied for 35th individually and was the Gophers’ second-lowest scorer and shot 72-68-78 — 218 over the weekend in Georgia.

Erik Van Rooyen placed highest for the team: He shot 74-72-70 — 216, and finished tied for 27th.

Carlson said that he’d like to see his junior class, which includes Van Rooyen and Haley, step up more as the season goes on.

“They all have loads of talent, and I think that if they can just get a little bit more confidence in those situations to finish off rounds, we’re only going to get better as a team because of that,” Carlson said.

Alabama won the tournament with a team score of 817, which was 22 shots better than second-place Virginia.

The Gophers will now move on to the Florida Atlantic University Spring Break Invitational.

Freshman Tyler Lowenstein will replace Tim Peterzen in Minnesota’s lineup this weekend. Carlson said he “fully expects” Lowenstein to help the team.

The Gophers will face a field that consists of more Big Ten teams in the same boat, weather-wise, as Minnesota.

“This week’s field is primarily made up of Big Ten teams, some MAC conference teams,” Carlson said. “We’re going to go down there with a higher ranking going into the event versus some of the other schools.”

Carlson said he expects his team will have more confidence because of the higher ranking and that the Gophers have a good track record at the FAU Invite.

The event will take place at The Fountains Country Club in Lake Worth, Fla.