Gophers finish ninth in Minnesota Invite

USC finished first in the tournament, beating the Gophers by 33 strokes.

Senior Sabrine Garrison drives the ball during the Minnesota Invitational on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury, Minn.

Ellen Schmidt

Senior Sabrine Garrison drives the ball during the Minnesota Invitational on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury, Minn.

Max Biegert

The Gophers learned a lot about themselves in this week’s Minnesota Invitational. 

Minnesota took ninth place in the Minnesota Invitational at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury, Minnesota with contributions not only from the experienced upperclassmen of Muyu Wu and Sabrine Garrison, but also freshmen Katie Lillie and Grace Kellar.

Wu led the Gophers tallying two under par, tying her for 17th, while Garrison captured a tie for 39th by posting a four over.

“We had three freshmen in the lineup, we got a little tired, but I saw some good things and we will learn from that and move on,” said head coach Michele Redman.

Lillie, Kellar and freshman Joanne Free all started with Wu and Garrison and all three contributed to the team’s success.

Lillie led the freshmen with a tie for 39th, while Kellar and Free finished tied for 46th and 59th. Coach Redman liked the way they played, especially in the second round when they combined to shoot even par. They will rely on the leaders of the team to continue to guide them in the right direction.

“The freshmen couldn’t ask for better leaders, and as a coach, having them be able to talk … will only help them improve,” Redman said.

One of those leaders, Wu, posted a top-20 finish and took a relaxed mindset into the tournament.

“I feel good about my score, I didn’t have a goal in mind, I just wanted to focus on each shot and it ended well,” Wu said.

Wu said she had played a lot of golf before and played well, which she wanted to carry on into this tournament.

Garrison, on the other hand, had not played much golf in a tournament setting the last few months and said it felt good to be back out there.

“I was still figuring out my game, but I hit the ball really well and I am pretty happy with the way I finished,” Garrison said.

Though the Gophers placed ninth, they can take much away from the Minnesota Invitational.

“It is so exciting to have freshman come in and have so much talent, and they really stepped up to the plate and it is fun to help them and create the culture we are trying to have,” Garrison said.

The Gophers play their next tournament in  Idaho and look to improve upon their start.

“I like what I see with not a lot of practice or mental training, and the team chemistry is great,” Redman said. “The more we work on that, the better golf we will play.”