Lowenstein leads squad to tie for fifth

Minnesota improved its position by one spot on the last day of the Gopher Invitational.

by Samuel Gordon

It was a bunched leaderboard entering Monday’s final round of the Gopher Invitational.

And it was a bunched leaderboard afterward.

The Gophers men’s golf team finished in a tie for fifth place out of 12 teams at the annual invitational at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minn.

The Gophers were in sixth place after Sunday’s action, and head coach John Carlson said strong play on the front nine was crucial Monday.

“When we turned as a team, I think we were within one of [No. 1] California,” he said. “We were really close to making a charge, but unfortunately we didn’t finish off the tournament all that well.”

Senior Alex Gaugert was the highest-scoring Minnesota player, but he birdied his last three holes, helping to propel the Gophers into the fifth-place tie.

“We talked about getting our team off to a better fall start,” Carlson said. “This is one of the starts we were looking for.”

Junior Tyler Lowenstein was the low Gophers golfer. He finished the three-round tournament at 1-over par, enough for 10th place.

New Mexico shot an aggregate 4-under par to claim the team title. Second-place Baylor finished at 2-over.

Top-ranked California finished in fourth place, but the Golden Bears’ top two players were playing at the Walker Cup — the top amateur golf tournament in the country.

Still, Carlson said he was encouraged by Minnesota’s finish relative to California’s and anticipates being able to compete with the Bears in the spring.

Kent State’s Corey Conners, the 36-hole leader, finished at 7-under par to win the individual title for the second straight year.

Conners is the tournament’s first back-to-back champion.

This year is Windsong Farm’s first as the tournament’s host. The tournament was played previously at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn.

Carlson said Windsong Farm is a bit more generous off the tees and lends more of a tournament feel.

“We played with more confidence because of that,” he said.