Match play shows team’s weaknesses

Minnesota tied for ninth place at the Big Ten Match Play Championship.

Nickalas Tabbert

The Gophers men’s golf team finished tied for ninth at the Big Ten Match Play Championship over the weekend.

Minnesota lost two close matches Friday to Michigan and Penn State at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.

The Gophers rebounded Saturday with a match victory over Nebraska.

Illinois won the championship by going undefeated in its three matches.

This is the first of six spring events for Minnesota before the Big Ten championships in late April.

Coach John Carlson said the team lost leads on the back nine of the course Friday.

“We didn’t drive the ball very well this weekend on a really tight, tough golf course,” Carlson said. “We were out of position during most of the rounds.”

That proved to be the deciding factor in the close matches Friday, he said.

On Saturday, the team was able to win the close matches. Freshman Jon DuToit won his match by two strokes, and Jon Trasamar won by one.

Senior Erik Van Rooyen and Trasamar led Minnesota with a pair of match play victories.

Van Rooyen led from the start in his first match and cruised after trailing early in his second match victory. Carlson said Van Rooyen’s round Saturday was one of the best of the weekend.

“He played a flawless round of golf today,” Carlson said Saturday. “He played a Nebraska freshman who really didn’t have a chance against the arsenal of shots that Erik had today.”

Trasamar, a redshirt junior, did not compete for the Gophers in tournaments last fall.

In his match against Penn State on Friday, Trasamar turned a one-hole deficit into a match victory after his opponent shot 5-over par in the final three holes.

On Saturday, Trasamar never trailed in a win against Nebraska.

Carlson said Trasamar’s victories were important for adding depth to the team.

“He has played in quite a few collegiate tournaments for us,” Carlson said. “It’s nice to see that he’s coming back into form.”

Minnesota’s players had their weaknesses exposed at the challenging course, Carlson said.

The larger goal of the tournament, though, was to add depth to the lineup.

“We have more depth in our lineup than we had in the fall,” he said. “We’re really going to compete every round of every tournament.”

Minnesota will compete in two weeks at the Snowman Getaway Invitational in Arizona.