Gophers finish tied for fifth place at Marquette Intercollegiate

Peter Jones tied for 10th among individuals.

Senior Peter Jones plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Maple Plain

Image by Courtney Deutz

Senior Peter Jones plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Maple Plain

by Nick Jungheim

The old adage says, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”  Minnesota’s men’s golf team exemplified just that earlier this week at the Marquette Intercollegiate in Erin, Wisconsin.

In the eleven-team field, the Gophers sat in ninth place after the first day. However, things began to improve for the team during a rainy second round, after which the team found themselves tied for seventh.  Then, thanks to some key performances by juniors Noah Rasinski and Thomas Longbella, Minnesota was tied for fifth place with UC Davis when the tournament concluded on Tuesday.

“What we talk about every day and every event is how we can compete even harder,” associate head coach Justin Smith said.  “There’s no doubt these guys did that in the second and third rounds.  It was really fun to see them get rewarded for all the work they’ve been putting into it.”

Minnesota’s surge up the leaderboard on day three was thanks in large part to strong play from Rasinski, who entered the final round a total of ten-over par, before going four-under over the last 18 holes.  His third-round score of 68 was tied for the second-best total of the day and was also the best round by any Minnesota golfer during the tournament.

“I think I learned to be patient and take what the course gave us,” Rasinski said of his third round. “It was a really challenging course and if you missed in the wrong spots you really got penalized.”

While the team notched its second top-five finish of the young season, senior Peter Jones had an impressive tournament competing as an individual.  He shot an even-par 72 on each of his first two rounds and then a 73 on Tuesday to finish one-over, which tied Jones for tenth-place overall.

“To shoot those consistent scores for him proved to everybody [Jones] is ready and capable,” Smith said.

As one of two seniors on the roster, Jones is somebody the young Gophers look to for leadership.  

“I really try to play my own game and not let little things affect me out there,” Jones said. “I always try to stay the same throughout my round.”

Northwestern won the tournament, finishing with a 858 (-6), using a 12-under third-round to overtake Arizona State for first place.  The Sun Devils also led heading into the final day of the last tournament the Gophers competed in, the Maui Jim Invitational, before finishing as runner-ups in that tournament as well.

Senior Ryan Lumsden of Northwestern was the top individual finisher, shooting a 208 (-8) overall.  He finished one stroke ahead of Arizona State’s Alex del Rey.

Minnesota’s next tournament will come in less than a week’s time when team travels south to the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. That tournament will begin on Monday, October 8.

Due in part to the demand of playing three tournaments in as many weeks, Coach Smith suggested changes to the Gophers’ lineup are likely.

“There will definitely be a change,” Smith said.  “That’s the next couple days to figure that out.  There’s a little bit of a challenge of the guys coming into the week to see who will step up, which is always exciting on our end.”