Minnesota Golf Fans!
Offering a slight break from the unseasonable winter Minnesotans have been experiencing this year, we took full advantage of a new rule instituted by the NCAA Division I Golf Committee this past year. All college golf teams are able to practice out of state as long as no class days are missed. This meant a late February trip to Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., for our team. I constantly joke with a close friend of mine, Brad Frost, who is the head coach of the women's hockey program at the University of Minnesota, that we should compare pictures of both of our teams' trips this time of the year. So he sends pictures of an ice rink in Duluth, Minn., while I reciprocate with a team photo standing on the 18th green of the Cochise Course, home of the 2014 Charles Schwab Championship on the Champions Tour. I know I will repeat this many times in my blogs BUT it is a great time to be a college golfer!
Gaugert led the way at the team qualifier.
Our qualifying tournament started out with a bang! Alex Gaugert, a senior and two-year letter winner, shot 64(-8) from 7,100 yards at the Cochise Course while playing in the same threesome as Jon DuToit and Jon Trasamar. Their 72s were solid but overshadowed by his two eagles and a lion's share of birdies en route to the lowest tournament or qualifying round registered since my arrival as coach on campus. All other scores for Day 1 of the Del Walker Classic qualifying can be found here on our GopherSports.com page. The guys practiced at the back range and short game facility the entire rest of Day 1 at the Outlaw Course at Desert Mountain.
The final round of every qualifier gives our coaching staff a glimpse into the mindset of certain players and provides equivalence to a pressure-packed tournament round. The Outlaw Course is a links golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus that sits off property from the other five Desert Mountain golf courses. The challenge of tight fairways, deep greenside bunkering, firm putting surfaces and windy conditions remain trademarks of this golf course. We did not find the golf course to be as easy as PGA Tour member Steve Marino found it on his way to a course record 12-under-par 59 back in 2011. Leading the way was senior captain Jon Trasamar with an even-par round of 72. Other final round scores were as follows: Rachey (74), Mendez (75), Gaugert (75), DuToit (77), Lowenstein (79) and Meyer (84). I want to personally thank two tremendous supporters of our program for making this experience possible. Fritz Corrigan of Minikahda Club and Cal Simmons of Interlachen Country Club are also both members at Desert Mountain, where they showed us an unbelievable time on the golf course and at the practice facilities. Without generous donors and friends of Gopher Golf, our program would not be able to continue to make strides back to the elite in the Big Ten and nationally.
It was a pleasure to have Grady Meyer, a freshman from Fargo Shanley High School, compete on his second trip since joining the team for the 2013-14 season. He exemplifies sportsmanship and outstanding character, which will help him have a big impact on our team in his final 3 1/2 years of college golf. Coming off a career low round of 66 (-6) at Lakewood Ranch GC in Bradenton, Fla., while practicing with Daniel Luftspring, our freshman from Toronto, Canada, Grady continued his hard work in Arizona. Striving for a more neutral grip, balanced setup and square club face that allow him to control the head in his golf swing, Grady has made as big of strides on the golf course as any player this year. Look for Grady to push his teammates with the endless amount of talent he has in the game of golf.
Back to four days of practice in Minnesota using our TrackMan launch monitor and loft/lie adjustments at 2nd Swing Minneapolis before heading to Long Beach, Calif., for the Del Walker Collegiate. The Del Walker is one of the longest running college golf tournaments in the country, contested at Virginia Country Club. In an attempt to always show my players a truly unique experience, we will be spending the day prior to the practice round playing at the Los Angeles Country Club, with the longtime director of golf, Kurt Schuette, at USC. Kurt has played a huge role in mentoring me with my first collegiate coaching job and all seven travelers are looking forward to the opportunity to play one of the top 10 golf courses in the United States! Keep your computers logged on to Golfstat.com on Monday and Tuesday, March 3-4, for tee times and complete live scoring of the 12-team Del Walker Classic.
Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!
What's In the Bag---Tyler Lowenstein (Jr./ Wayzata, Minn.)
Driver: Taylor Made RBZ Stage 2 10.5 degree
3-wood: Taylor Made Rocket Ballz 14.5 degrees bent to 15.5 degrees
Hybrid: Taylor Made Rescue 19 degree
Hybrid: Taylor Made Rescue 24 degree
Irons (4 to pitching wedge): Nike Pro Combo, Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X-100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey 53 and 60
Putter: Bettinardi BB1 35 inches
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Shoe: Nike TW
Golf Glove: Nike Premium