Gophers falter in tourney

Sophomore Jose Mendez led the Gophers as he tied for 17th overall.

Betsy Helfand

Minnesota struggled last weekend at the Windon Memorial, turning in a 13th-place finish.

Those problems persisted this weekend at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, as the Gophers finished second-to-last in the field.

“Unfortunately, we made some of the same mistakes that we made in Chicago [at the Windon Memorial] as a team,” head coach John Carlson said. “We just have to continue to get better.”

Carlson said the team’s ball striking has been inconsistent all season.

“Coming off a summer of playing and practicing and competing, this is the time of year that I would expect our ball striking to be sharp, and for whatever reason, it just hasn’t been that way for everyone other than Jose [Mendez],” Carlson said.

The team turned in rounds of 301, 309 and 307, finishing 53-over par.

“We got penalized pretty harshly for missing the fairways by a small margin,” senior Tyler Lowenstein said. “This golf course is pretty long and … the rough is right off the fairway, so if you miss the fairway by a foot, you’re in the really thick rough, which is really penalizing.”

He said it was the toughest course the team had played so far this season.

Lowenstein said holes 5-12 in particular were difficult for the team.

“They’re difficult holes, but obviously a lot of other teams figured out how to play them,” Lowenstein said. “I think they just hit the fairways and we were just off by a couple of feet.”

In the first two rounds, all five Gophers golfers bogeyed at least twice on holes 5-8.

On Saturday, the Gophers started the third round on the 13th hole — freshman Rúnar Arnórsson and sophomore Daniel Luftspring each birdied three holes in a row.

But the team couldn’t maintain that level throughout the round, and it faltered again on the fifth hole with three team bogeys and one double bogey.

“The positive was we got off to a good start, which we wanted to,” junior Jon DuToit said. “But we just didn’t finish how we wanted to.”

Mendez, the Gophers’ top golfer, again led his teammates, finishing 5-over par and tying for 17th overall.

Carlson changed his lineup after the Windon Memorial, subbing in DuToit for sophomore Matt Rachey.

DuToit finished second among Minnesota competitors.

“It was disappointing not to go last week, but I think whatever the team needs … that’s what you [have to] go with,” DuToit said. “Last week wasn’t right for me to go. This week, it was good for me to get back and play.”

DuToit said he didn’t play “necessarily well” and that he has things he has to work on.

That goes for the rest of the team as well.

“We’re going to be having a bit longer practices, a little more detail with each of the guys now that they can evaluate their games from the tournament, and hopefully we’ll come back with a more spirited effort,” Carlson said.