Women’s golf enjoys spring weather heading to Big Ten tournament

Sarah Mitchell

With most of the season in the books, the Minnesota women’s golf team is finally experiencing a week of golf weather. The Gophers arrived home from a sixth-place finish at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on Sunday, and planned on taking a day off Monday.
But seeing the sunshine on Monday, Gophers coach Melissa Arthur decided her team should visit the driving range.
“Just mentally, they approach practice much more positively because it is nice outside. It’s kind of a chore to stay outside in the cold weather,” Arthur said. “The past two weekends have been a struggle weather-wise.”
During Friday’s practice round at Ohio State, Minnesota competed against rain and cold. Then on Saturday the Gophers played 36 holes in what Arthur said was “absolutely freezing all day.”
Minnesota found a way to pull through, however, jumping up three places in the final round at the invitational. The Gophers passed Notre Dame, Ohio University and Wisconsin with a third-round total of 320.
“We beat Wisconsin heading into this week (the Big Ten championship starts Friday), which was nice and we beat Penn State pretty handily,” Arthur said. “It was a good finish coming out of ninth place.”
Sophomore Megan Stier and freshman Karyn Stordahl led Gophers finishers. The pair tied for 28th with scores of 242. Junior Katie Bakken (246) was 38th, junior Jenny Bruun placed 52nd at 252, freshman Kirstin Whalen, 63rd at 255 and sophomore Cindy Cannon (256) was 66th.
Arthur attributed a long course to the average scores.
“It played a good three to four hundred yards more than we normally do,” Arthur said. “And when it’s cold and wet the ball doesn’t travel as far as it could.”
Up next
Minnesota travels to Wisconsin this weekend for the most important tournament of its season, the Big Ten championship. The four-round tournament begins Friday and runs through Sunday.
Ohio State is the defending conference champion, after winning the Big Ten on Purdue’s course last year. Arthur said she sees no clear favorite for the team medal this year and with a strong start, Minnesota could turn a few heads in a tough conference field.
“We always have a chance to win the tournament,” Arthur said. “I think that it’s always good to set a fairly high goal when you go into a tournament. I know the ability of this team. I think we have the chance to win any tournament we go to.”

Sarah Mitchell covers golf and welcomes comments at [email protected]