Gophers finish 6th at Fighting Irish classic

Minnesota fell behind early in the tournament as it battled the rain.

Nickalas Tabbert

The Gophers men’s golf team finished sixth out of 12 teams at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic on Tuesday in South Bend, Ind.

Michigan State won the tournament by one shot over Houston and North Carolina-Wilmington. Minnesota finished 11 strokes behind.

Head coach John Carlson said the weather was a factor throughout the week. He said heavy rain Sunday lasted for more than two hours and came while the Gophers were playing some of the toughest holes on the course.

The course was soft Monday and Tuesday, which saw cold and windy conditions, Carlson said.

Senior Erik Van Rooyen  tied for fifth place individually, finishing 3-over par.

After his opening-round 72, Van Rooyen’s eagle on the par-5 10th hole helped him shoot even par the second day. He finished the week with a round of 1-over par in windy conditions Tuesday.

Senior David Haley Jr. finished four strokes behind Van Rooyen. He recovered from a first-round 75 by shooting 3-over par over the final two rounds to finish tied for 21st.

“David never surprises me,” Carlson said. “He’s got all the tools.”

Carlson walked with Haley the final two rounds, which he said may have been the best of his collegiate career.

Carlson said this week will set the expectation for how Haley should play every week. He said Haley is one of four golfers he can count on in his lineup.

Freshman Jon DuToit tied for 28th. The Chaska, Minn., native opened and closed the tournament with a pair of 73s but shot a second-round 76.

Junior Alex Gaugert tied for 51st. He was one of four Gophers golfers to shoot 73 in the final round.

Senior Robert Bell rounded out the Gophers’ lineup with a 69th-place finish.

Carlson said he was pleased with how his team responded to its poor start even though the final result fell short of what he’d hoped for.

The Gophers are in the middle of a five-week stretch of traveling around the country to play in tournaments, and Carlson said he likes how motivated his team is.

Minnesota wraps up its fall season next Monday and Tuesday when it travels to Birmingham, Ala., for the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate.