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Student demonstrators in the rainy weather protesting outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Tuesday.
Photos from April 23 protests
Published April 23, 2024

Gophers women’s golf set program records after two in-season tournaments

Minnesota’s recent achievements have put them in conversations with other nationally ranked programs.
Fifth-year+Grace+Curran+did+well+ANNIKA+Intercollegiate+tournament.
Image by courtesy, Brad Rempel
Fifth-year Grace Curran did well ANNIKA Intercollegiate tournament.

The Gophers women’s golf team has set several records in two tournaments this season, putting them in conversations with nationally ranked programs.

Between Isabella McCauley finishing as the top competitor at the first tournament of the season to picking up their first program victory at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate tournament, the Gophers started their season hot and have exhibited no signs of slowing down.

In April, the middle of McCauley’s spring season her freshman year, she said two of her biggest collegiate goals are to play in the national championships and individually win a collegiate event.

Since then, McCauley achieved both. She represented the Gophers in the NCAA Championship last season and, more recently, came out on top at the Boilermaker Classic. McCauley was the first Gopher to individually place in a tournament in eight years.

“Having a college win was one of my dream goals since the start of my freshman year, and I’m so grateful to have my first one in the Midwest at Purdue with all my incredible teammates,” McCauley said in a press release.

Fifth-year Grace Curran is another Gopher who succeeded early in the season. She tied for 18th at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate after a triumphant third round where she hit four under par (68), bolstering her 21 spots up the leaderboard.

Curran said she was proud of the way she played in the first two rounds but knew there were some simple mistakes she could fix in the third.

“I’m a very competitive person — competitive spirit — and tend to get very emotional when it comes to a certain shot or when I play a certain way,” Curran said. “I’ve really just been trying to stay level-headed and calm throughout the round.”

Curran’s ability to stay calm contributed to the Gophers’ impressive finish at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate. The team competed against 13 top-30-ranked teams and finished 11th overall, beating out No. 12 Baylor.

Head coach for the Gophers, Rhyll Brinsmead, said this was the first time the team had ever recorded a win at this tournament.

“This might seem like an odd stat to highlight, but to me, it shows the growth and future of this program,” Brinsmead said in a press release. “What Grace did this week was remarkable. I am so proud of her and I know this finish means the world to her, as it does to us.”

Throughout the offseason, the Gophers brought on new talent including transfers Hailey Loh and Megan Furtney and freshmen Phitchanaj Phongthammarug and Sara Tomaszewski.

Loh comes to Minnesota after playing in the two very different climates of California and Singapore.

“Coming here where it’s like kind of dry and cold I have to watch out for my distances because the ball doesn’t travel very far back in Singapore, so I have to be attentive to that,” Loh said.

Courses in the Midwest also contain bentgrass, which is different from what Loh played on in California and Singapore. Loh said her golf wedges are designed for courses in California and Singapore, which makes it hard for her to hit shots low to the ground.

“Coach did get me a new wedge to help me with the bentgrass, but I have also been working with my teammate Bella and coach to help me cope with the bentgrass,” Loh said while practicing at the John W. Mooty Golf Facility.

With the individual and team success from the Boilermaker Classic and the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, Minnesota is drawing in more alumnae and supporters to their games.

Curran said she is looking forward to coming back post-grad to watch the team, much like how Gophers golf alumna Leah Herzog did on Wednesday.

“I know multiple people who had actually marked those days on their calendar,” Curran said. “It just shows the love and support that people have for this program.”

The Gophers will look to build on their early success as they round out the season. They have two tournaments left in their fall season, the next beginning the Leadership and Golf Invitational in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday.

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