Gopher Golf Fans!
Twenty-nine...some of you may be wondering: What is the significance of this number? Twenty-nine is the score posted by Jon Trasamar on the final nine holes of the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate last weekend! Not only did it include five birdies and an eagle that propelled him to a second-place finish, his finest performance as a collegiate golfer, but it also sealed a 17-shot victory for our team in the 15-team field. First team win since 2006-07 season, first outright team victory going back to the 2005 Gopher Invitational and the first time in my coaching career to have all five team members finish inside the top 10! What a week to back up a fine performance at the Alister MacKenzie hosted by the University of California...
Trasamar's back-nine 29 propelled him to a career-best finish.
Sonoma, Calif., is the home of Sam Snead's favorite golf course west of the Mississippi River (Sonoma Golf Club) and one of the busiest tourism areas in the world this time of the year. Our golfers came to play this weekend. Sonoma GC played firm and fast at 7,100 yards in near perfect weather. Ten top-75 teams were assembled primarily from the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference to battle it out in one of the most historic college tournaments on the NCAA schedule each year. Besides having some of the best Mexican food, playing Mayacama GC (one of the top 100 courses in the world) and listening to stories from tourists about every grape known to the industry, we were there to compete...and we did just that!
Alex Gaugert capped off a fine performance to our team's ninth-place finish with three under-par rounds and a three-round total of 7-under-par 206. This was good enough for a seventh-place finish that has now vaulted him inside the top 600 in the overall Golfstat Individual rankings. Jose Mendez, Jon Trasamar, Tyler Lowenstein and Jon DuToit all had solid rounds that enabled Gopher golf to finish in ninth place with a 3-round total of 7 under par. The 9th-place showing was slightly misleading as we finished 10 strokes out of second and 10 strokes ahead of 11th. A final nine holes of +3 allowed a few teams to move past us but an under-par team showing went a long ways mentally in preparation for our trip the same week to Seton Hall, N.J.
No one on our team had been to New Jersey before. I love when our guys talk about the number of states that they have now been through because of college golf. New Jersey boasts some of the greatest golf courses in the world such as Baltusrol, Trump National and Springfield. These courses have the national publicity but we were lucky enough to play at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club, which has 54 holes of amazing golf. Playing at a yardage of 6,910 yards with five par-3's and five par-5's, I knew fireworks were in store for us and I was lucky enough to witness the barrage of birdies on the final nine holes of the 36-hole event.
Through one round of golf and multiple three-putts, we stood in second place behind a talented team from Temple University. Temple boasts one of the top-ranked golfers in the country, Brandon Matthews, who recently was a quarterfinalist in the 2013 USGA Amateur.
The second day was our day, though. The first six holes were shaky at best, but Alex Gaugert and Matt Rachey both helped our team with a solid start of even par through those holes. The next 12 holes proved to me that we have a team that will contend for a championship in every event going forward.
The fireworks started on hole 11. Trasamar made eagle, while Mendez, Lowenstein and Gaugert followed with birdies. Putts were falling that hadn't earlier this fall, and in the end our back-nine scoring amounted to 10 under par! Jon Trasamar would finish with 11 putts for a back nine of 29, which would propel him to a final round of 66. Our next four scores were as follows: Gaugert (71), Mendez (71), Rachey (72) and Lowenstein (72). The balance in our lineup is evident with our highest score of the entire tournament being 2-over-par 74. Congratulations go out to Jon Trasamar, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week following the Seton Hall performance! Also a special shout out to Matt Rachey, who competed like a veteran in his first collegiate tournament.
Gopher Golf is certainly on the rise and competition is alive and well in practice and qualifying. We leave for Kiawah Island to play the Jack Nicklaus-designed, Turtle Point Golf Club, in 10 days. Qualifying will be over three rounds at Southview Country Club (home of the Tapemark Charity Pro Am every June), Interlachen CC (home of many USGA Championships) and Wayzata CC (home of PGA Tour player Tim Herron). Two spots will be up for grabs among Tyler Lowenstein, Matt Rachey, Jon DuToit, Charlie Braniff, Daniel Luftspring and Genki Hirayama.
Between college classes, the Minnesota vs. Nebraska football game, practice and qualifying, rest assured the balance between student and athlete is alive and well in the friendly confines of the Bierman Building for Gopher Golf.
Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!
Player Feature: Jon Trasamar (R-Sr./Blue Earth, Minn./Blue Earth HS)
GopherSports: What are your goals for the season?
Jon Trasamar: My goals for this season include an individual win and All-American honors. I want to set my goals high this last year.
GS: What is your favorite course in the Twinc Cities?
JT: My favorite Twin Cities course is Hazeltine because it's the biggest, best test we have in the state. IT's the only one where the best in the world play.
GS: What is the biggest strength of your game?
JT: The strength of my game is my short game, including chipping, pitching and bunker play.
GS: Do you have a favorite club in your bag?
JT: My favorite club in my bag is my 58 degree wedge and my 3 iron.
GS: Is there anything interesting you carry around in your bag?
JT: I carry all my different color sharpies in my bag to mark my ball before the round.
GS: What is your favorite part of being a Golden Gopher?
JT: My favorite thing about being a Gopher is to represent my home state, as well as all the previous Gopher golfers to play here. It's an honor to be a Gopher and a part of the Gopher golf program.
2013 Scoring Averages (Rounds Played)
Matt Rachey..................................72.50 (2)
Jose Mendez ................................73.21 (14)
Jon Trasamar................................73.79 (14)
Alex Gaugert ................................74.00 (14)
Tyler Lowenstein ..........................74.14 (14)
Grady Meyer ................................74.25 (4)
Jon DuToit ....................................74.58 (12)
Charlie Braniff ..............................75.75 (4)
Genki Hirayama............................77.33 (3)
Daniel Luftspring ..........................78.50 (4)
Trasamar's back nine scorecard in the final round of the Seton Hall tournament: