It's almost that time again when we will have 750 Gopher
student athletes strolling the halls of the Bierman Building, freshmen
wandering nervously around campus trying to find their next class and Gopher
Golf will be back for another season as defending Big Ten Champions. This title carries an added pressure to build
off of a tremendous 2013-14 season, but also it allows our players to feel an
even bigger sense of pride when they strap the Maroon and Gold golf bag on their
backs each round.
A new season brings new faces and in this blog I want to
introduce the 10 players that will be teeing it up at Windsong Farm Golf Club
on Sept. 7-8 in the Gopher Invitational.
With the new season, we say farewell to three great seniors: Jon Trasamar, Alex Gaugert and Genki
Hirayama. In contrast to the previous season,
our 2014-15 squad is young with one senior and one junior returning. Here is the breakdown of this year's roster:
· Tyler Lowenstein- Ty is a senior from Wayzata
High School in Minnesota that has been a steady contributor to the recent
success of Gopher Golf. Ty is extremely creative
(instrumental in design of the School of Engineering's Holiday Light Show),
likes to work his golf ball from right to left on the course and will be relied
upon for leadership this year.
Tyler Lowenstein is the only senior on the 2014-15 roster.
· Jon DuToit- Dutes is a junior from Chaska High
School in Minnesota and comes in having played all but two events in the
previous season as a starter. Jon loves
to tinker with the technology in equipment (2nd Swing's prodigy), has gained 30
yards on his tee ball in two years and recently competed in the US Amateur at
Atlanta Athletic Club.
· Jose Mendez- Jose hails from San Jose, Costa
Rica, and will be starting his sophomore season for the Gophers. A loyal Titleist player, Jose loves futbol
and is the defending Big Ten Individual champion.
· Grady Meyer-In his sophomore season after graduating
from Fargo Shanley High School in North Dakota, Grady keeps things light in
practice. He may be seen dancing,
talking, eating large amounts of candy but always working to improve the
mechanics of his swing. He will tell you
that he can guard anyone on the basketball court and may make himself eligible
in three years for the NFL draft as a lockdown cornerback.
· Matt Rachey- Matt is also in his second year
coming out of Waconia High School in Minnesota.
Rach is like having another coach in the huddle. His determination and class is contagious as
he was named Louis Lick "Hardest Worker" in 2013-14. Posture adjustments and a switch in irons
have him poised to vie for the top spot in the lineup this year.
· Daniel Luftspring-Oh Canada! Dan is a sophomore coming from the Core
Academy in Orlando, Fla. Not far from
the accolades of a Rhodes Scholar, Dan loves to hypothesize and ask questions
about anything. These qualities of a
master debater also have allowed him to make big strides since he first step
foot on campus. Only a couple of strokes
kept him out of the lineup through qualifying last year and should prove as
motivation for the upcoming season.
· William Leaf-Will transferred back to his home
state from SIU-Edwardsville this season after graduating from Winona High
School. Competitive, skilled, motivated
and hungry are all adjectives that sum up Mr. Leaf. There won't be much of a transition period
for Will as he has already had success at the Division I level. I will never shy away from expectations as I
strongly believe all elite athletes expect to win and Will can be great.
To be a freshman in college again...
· Riley Johnson-Another North Dakota Boy...A Packer
from West Fargo HS, Riley compiled one of the greatest high school records
since Andy Doeden, David Schultz and Tom Hoge.
As a two-time North Dakota State Individual champion, he has more
passion for the game than most. Riley
will be the second sibling in the Johnson family to be a Gopher as his brother
Payton currently is enrolled at the U.
· Runar Arnorsson-As a top player in Iceland for
the last six years, Runar makes his trip across the pond to America as a 22-year-old
freshman. His mature game, having been
tested in many international competitions, should make him a starter
immediately in the Big Ten.
· Charlie Duensing-By way of Sandy, Utah, Charlie
has spent many summers in Minnesota, as his grandparents live in Detroit
Lakes. As one of Ping's top junior
players, the transition to college golf and academics will be seamless for
Charlie. Competitive and passionate are
two words that best sum up Charlie Duensing.
While the players have been busy working hard on their
games this summer, our coaching staff has been carrying the heavy load of
tournament preparation for the 2014 Gopher Invitational. Months of planning, scheduling the teams'
arrival and course setup has been made slightly easier this year thanks to the
help of newly appointed Co-Tournament Director, Keith Rachey. Keith is the father of Matt Rachey and has
completely transformed our donor support for the event. His detail and creativity will be seen for
many years to come as we continue to improve the college golf tournament
environment with exciting changes being implemented.
Come watch or volunteer at the Gopher Invitational at Windsong
Farm GC Sept. 7-8. We will play 36 holes
on Sunday starting at 8:05 am continuing all day. Tee times on Monday are set
between 7:30-9:30 am, depending on Day 1 scoring. It is free to spectators and if you choose to
volunteer, our Gopher Invitational tournament committee will provide each
volunteer with a free golf shirt and golf hat, in addition to lifelong memories
of seeing future PGA Tour stars compete in college. Email Jo Rider, Administrative Specialist to
Gopher Golf, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer.
In closing, I always end my blogs with "Fairways,
Fairways, Fairways" and the story behind this goes deep into my values in
recruiting, competing and player development.
College golf has changed in the last 20 years. Golf courses on campus are not being used for
tournament competition nearly as often and they have been replaced in the rotation
by modern and historic venues demanding accuracy off the tee. I only recruit players with total confidence
with the driver and demand that our current players find the short grass more
regularly. In tracking our fairways hit,
along with GIR from the fairway vs. the rough, using Birdie Fire Statistical
Software, it is staggering how much we have improved in this category as a
team. Thus, I will continue to preach
this with Gopher Golf and clearly we are on our way to more Big Ten
Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!