Gophers victorious at tourney in Georgia

Adam Fink

Minnesota’s men’s golf coach Brad James said last week that all the Gophers needed was a solid fifth score to jump from a middle-of-the-pack to a top-of-the-standings team.

After finishing eighth on March 30 at the National Invitational Tournament, Minnesota added a new player to its rotation, got the scores it needed and finished in first place at the Augusta State Invitational in Augusta, Ga., on Sunday.

Minnesota finished 3-under-par for the three rounds and was the only team to finish under par.

The 18-team tournament was the Gophers’ first top-finish since Nov. 2, and indicates Minnesota is rebounding from a tough opening stretch to its spring season.

On Sunday, the Gophers got solid scores from their top three finishers.

Bronson La’Cassie was the Gophers’ top golfer after completing a three-round score of 5-under-par. David Morgan finished 1-under-par and Ben Greve was 1-over-par.

Even more impressive with Minnesota’s victory was that Justin Smith, the reigning Big Ten golfer of the week, wasn’t among Minnesota’s top three finishers.

Smith, a Ben Hogan Award finalist, ended 5-over-par after completing a top-10 individual finish in his last six tournaments.

After watching last weekend’s fifth golfer hurt their team score, the Gophers got a solid final tally.

Last weekend, John Hempstock ended 32-over-par. On Sunday, Clayton Rask replaced Hempstock in the lineup and finished 6-over-par, enough for a 35th-place tie.

Rask’s finish was what Minnesota was searching for and is another reason for optimism heading into next weekend’s intercollegiate tournament in North Carolina.

Women finish 13th

Minnesota’s women’s golf coach Katie Weiss felt the Gophers were on the upswing after two weeks of outdoor practice.

But despite Weiss’ hope that improvement in practice would translate to a better finish in their first tournament action since March 21, the Gophers finished 13th at the Indiana Invitational Sunday in Bloomington, Ill.

The Gophers, who were 13th after the first day, never mounted a comeback in the 15-team tournament.

Missouri won the team event.

Sarah Butler once again led the Gophers and continued to showcase herself as the surprise golfer of the team.

The sophomore finished tied as the 17th best overall golfer with a final three-round score of 235.

Butler has finished as the Gophers’ top finisher in the team’s previous two tournaments.

Terra Petsinger finished closely behind with a score of 240.

After having last weekend off, the Gophers have another open weekend to prepare for the stretch run of the season.