Disappointing season ends for Gophers

by Ryan Schuster

The Gophers’ men’s golf team ended their roller-coaster season appropriately over the weekend by failing to advance to the NCAA championships.
Minnesota finished 17th out of 21 teams at the NCAA Central Regional on Thursday through Saturday in Norman, Okla., with a three-round total of 896. Oklahoma State was first with an 843, 10 strokes lower than second-place Texas Christian and 16 strokes better than Texas A&M, which finished third. The top 10 teams advance to the NCAA championships May 28-31 in Lake Forrest, Ill.
Throughout the season, the Gophers were plagued by inconsistency. The team started off their fall season on fire and were up and down during most of the spring.
Minnesota’s struggles the last two weeks during the biggest meets of the season were the most damaging, however. A week ago, the Gophers had an upsetting fifth-place showing at the Big Ten championships and then they didn’t play up to their potential at regionals.
Minnesota was tied for 14th after the first day and was in 15th following the second day, but the Gophers slipped two more places on the final day to hasten the end of their season.
“After the second round, we felt like we could still do it,” sophomore Bill Thompson said. “But we didn’t get it done on Saturday.
“We were disappointed, but we all did our best and this week it wasn’t good enough. What are you going to do? Are you going to pout? No, you just go on to this week. We’re done with our season now, but we’re fine.”
Instead of blaming themselves for the team’s spring collapse, the Gophers are relieved that their difficult season has finally drawn to a close.
“We were pretty disappointed that we didn’t qualify,” freshman Martin Le Mesurier said. “But it was more of a relief afterwards because nothing really went right.”
Le Mesurier was again the top finisher on the team, tying for 45th with a three-round 221, one stroke ahead of teammate Rob Kerr. Kerr, a junior on the squad who took first at regionals a year ago finished in a tie for 46th place with a 6-over 222.
Senior captain Mark Halverson ended his Gophers career by tying for 60th with a 225. Thompson and fellow sophomore Andy Komor tied for 81st and 105th, respectively. Since the top four members of each team score points, none of Komor’s three rounds counted towards Minnesota’s score.
While the Gophers showed numerous spurts of promise and advanced to the regionals of the NCAA tournament for the fifth-straight season, it wasn’t enough to salvage the team’s up and down season.
“Everything this spring was hard,” Thompson said. “Everything we did was a struggle. Everything was an uphill battle the whole way. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”