Minnesota finishes 10th in second tourney

Freshman Celia Kuenster led Minnesota, tying for sixth overall.

Betsy Helfand

The Gophers faced the toughest test of their young season this week in a strong field with quick greens and windy conditions.

Despite freshman Celia Kuenster tying for sixth overall, the team finished 10th at the Windy City Collegiate Classic.

“This is probably the toughest field that we’ll play all year,” head coach Michele Redman said.

The Gophers finished 40-over par as a team, and they had trouble with their putting throughout the tournament.

“These greens were a lot faster and had more slope than greens that we’ve been used to recently, so I know we’re going to be doing a lot of short game and putting this week,” senior Anna Laorr said.

The conditions made the competition more difficult, Kuenster said.

“I think the winds this week were a big challenge. I mean, I haven’t played in winds that strong in probably a month or so,” Kuenster said. “They were gushing pretty good, so decision-making was pretty key. I think the combination of the wind and the greens is what made it a pretty good test this week.”

Redman said the team started out well, as Minnesota finished the first round with its lowest cumulative score of the three.

“I think the second round [Monday] is what really hurt us more than anything, and I think we’ve just got to work on our putting,” Redman said.

But Laorr said the team hit the ball well at the tournament, as it had been doing throughout the week.

Kuenster, who also tied for sixth in the team’s first tournament of the year, said she personally hit the ball better than at the Minnesota Invitational last month.

Redman said to have a freshman finish sixth in her first two tournaments, especially the latest one considering its difficult field conditions, is
impressive.

“That’s exciting for me,” she said.

Kuenster said the key to her consistency is going into each week “trying to find something to get better at.”

“This week I felt great about my ball-striking, and now it’s just working on my putting and seeing where I could go from there,” Kuenster said.

Fellow freshman Sabrine Garrison finished second for Minnesota and tied for 32nd overall.

Seniors Carmen Laguna and Laorr and sophomore Emie Peronnin finished behind her.

Though the Gophers had some challenges this weekend, they also finished ahead of five teams, including Big Ten foe Wisconsin.

“I think it shows that we can compete with these teams and beat some teams that maybe we thought we couldn’t beat even [though] we didn’t play very well,” Laorr said.

The Gophers will have to rebound quickly. They hit the road for their next tournament this weekend.

“I just think they’re all capable of playing really well. It’s just getting everybody to do it at the same time, and we’re very close to that,” Redman said.