Gophers complete fall season with 11th-place finish in Alabama

Minnesota finished second to last at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate.

Nickalas Tabbert

Minnesota men’s golfers faced some of the nation’s top competition this week in
Alabama.

The Gophers finished 11th out of 12 teams at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate on Tuesday.

The tournament was the final competition for the Gophers on their fall schedule. Their next competition will be Feb. 8 when Big Ten match play starts.

Host Alabama beat Southeastern Conference rivals Florida and Auburn to claim the tournament’s top spot.

The top-five finishing schools are nationally ranked in the latest Golf Coaches’ Association poll.

A fog-delay before the start of the first round Monday meant four Gophers players had to complete their second round early Tuesday morning.

Head coach John Carlson said course conditions were “scoreable” at the Old Overton Golf Club. He said as a group the team did not drive the ball well off the tee.

As a result, the team struggled to put the ball close to the pins and “made a lot of bad bogeys,” Carlson said.

The final round in particular was a challenge for the Gophers as the best score on the team was junior Alex Gaugert’s 6-over-par 76.

Senior Erik Van Rooyen tied for 26th overall to lead the Gophers. He shot under par on the back nine to finish with a 3-over-par 73 in the opening round, and he used four birdies to shoot a 2-over-par 72 in the second round.

Van Rooyen struggled on the front nine in the final round, however, and shot a final round 8-over-par 78. Carlson said Van Rooyen had an off-week.

Freshman Jon DuToit tied for 47th. He opened the tournament with a 5-over-par 75 and shot a 6-over-par 76 in the second round.

Gaugert tied for 51st, four shots behind DuToit. He bookended his scorecard with a pair of 76s and shot 78 in-between.

Freshman Charlie Braniff made his Gophers debut and finished 56th. He shot a 77 in his second round.

Carlson said Braniff was nervous early but played well after he settled down.

Through his first five holes, Braniff was 6-over par. He shot 4-over par for the rest of the round. Carlson said he was impressed with Braniff’s ability to bounce back from a rough start Monday.

Senior David Haley Jr. withdrew twice due to back spasms and was only able to compete in the second round. He finished 60th.

Carlson said the team will practice through mid-November even though Tuesday’s action concludes their fall competition schedule.

He said after playing with Florida and Auburn for three rounds this week, the team learned some areas that need improvement this fall. Carlson cited ball striking and improving the team’s short game as examples of what the team will work to improve.