Women back in action at Ohio State

Minnesota, playing in Ohio, has not been in competition for five weeks.

by Chris Lempesis

It’s been quite some time since Minnesota’s women’s golf team took to the course for competitive action – almost five weeks, to be exact.

A perfect amount of time to put the Gophers’ rough season – up to this point – behind them.

Minnesota hopes to officially move past its less-than-stellar performances this weekend at the Ohio State Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.

Freshman Suvi Mantyniemi said the break from tournament play has been quite nice.

“I think we tried to have a new idea of playing and just enjoying it,” Mantyniemi said. “I think we all practiced a lot during the break and tried just to forget all the bad things that we had, and now we have a fresh start.”

A big key in the new outlook is the fact that the Gophers actually have been able to get outside and play instead of practicing indoors.

The team’s improved morale will be crucial this weekend as the field for the tournament will include six teams in the top 25.

Coach Katie Hanneman said the tournament was supposed to be a preview of the NCAA Championships – which will be in late May in Columbus – and that a lot of the participating teams were to come to preview the course.

But Hanneman said because the Ohio State University Scarlet Course isn’t ready yet, the tournament now will be played at the Golf Club of Dublin.

Still, the field will be tough and when asked what her team has to do in order to have a better showing, Hanneman said it just has to display its newfound confidence.

“I think just believe and expect to win,” she said. “Expect to go in there and play well and expect that we’re going to improve on what we’ve done the last six months. The talent and ability is there. Now it’s just a matter of putting a ball in the hole.”

Men’s team at Fossum

The men’s golf team is also in Big Ten country this weekend as it is competing in the 12-team Fossum Invitational in East Lansing, Mich.

The 33rd-ranked Gophers are looking to improve on their last place showing (12th of 12) at the Boilermaker Invitational April 8 and 9 in West Lafayette, Ind.

There is some evidence to suggest Minnesota will be able to bounce back this weekend as the Gophers won the Fossum last year. In fact, Minnesota’s 54-hole total of 867 (3 over par) was a new record for the invitational.

“It’s always nice to go back to a place that you’ve won before,” junior Niall Turner said, “and get some pretty fond memories of the place.”

While they might not set any new records this weekend, the Gophers are just hoping for a better performance as the Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Ill., are just a week away.

“I don’t think the results are a huge factor,” Turner said. “As long as everyone just feels comfortable with their own game and that their game’s going to peak at the right time.”