Gophers back to business

The women’s golf team will begin its spring slate in Orlando, Fla.

Brad Bobel

The Gophers used a couple of months off between the fall and spring seasons to improve their physical game as well as their mental state.

When the spring season kicks off Sunday at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla., they’ll get a chance to see just how far they’ve come.

“I took almost two-and-a-half months off playing on grass and just prepared inside,” freshman Celia Kuenster said. “I got physically fit again and cleared my mind for the long spring season.”

Other players took advantage of the break and practiced down south.

“Six of the eight of us were able to get somewhere warm,” senior Anna Laorr said. “For me personally, it’s a time to work on my swing and make the necessary changes.”

Minnesota looks to build on its success after finishing its fall season tied for first in the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown.

Kuenster broke out in the fall and emerged as arguably Minnesota’s top golfer.

Even though she’s a freshman, those around her weren’t surprised.

“I’ve known her for a while now, and none of this has been a surprise to me,” Laorr said. “She was always kind of a phenom growing up.”

Upperclassmen like Laorr use their experiences on and off the course to teach underclassmen and show them how to play at a collegiate level.

“She can really grind it out on the golf course. She gets the most out of her game than anyone I’ve ever seen,” head coach Michele Redman said. “I think it’s good for a freshman or sophomore to see that.”

Laorr is no stranger to success, as last year’s team finished just two strokes shy of a trip to the NCAA championships.

But this year, the Gophers might be even better.

“We’re deeper, no question. I’m having a hard time filling spots because of our depth,” Redman said. “We have an excellent spring schedule, and all the fields are really strong this year, which will be good for us heading into the Big Ten, which is our ultimate goal.”