It has been two weeks since the University of Minnesota men's golf team last played in a tournament and the squad showed a tint of rust in round one but improved by 13 strokes in the day's final round. The Gophers opened with a score of 307 but rebounded with a 296 for a 36-hole score of 601 in day one of the Crooked Stick Invitational at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indianapolis.
Everyone in the Gopher lineup improved on their opening round score, led by sophomore Derek Chang. The Alpharetta, Ga. native posted Minnesota's low score in each round Monday, including a season-low 69 in the afternoon, and will begin Tuesday in fourth place. Senior Ben Pisani, who has finished in the top-20 in all but two tournaments this season, carded rounds of 74 and 75 and sits alone in 19th place.
Freshman Shang Zhi shot a pair of 77's and is in a tie for 31st while Cameron White and Robert Bell will open Tuesday's round in a tie for 41st and 47th, respectively. White improved the most for the Gophers on Monday, as he bettered his score by nine strokes.
The University of Illinois, the 11th ranked team in the nation, posted rounds of 284 and 283 and holds an 18-shot lead over Middle Tennessee State. Purdue is third followed by Indiana, Xavier and Wisconsin. The Illini's Chris DeForest carded rounds of 69 and 67 and holds a two shot lead over teammate Scott Langley and Jordan Elsen of Wisconsin.
The third and final round will begin on Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. The Gophers will begin with Bell at 9:00 a.m. followed by White (9:10 a.m.), Zhi (9:20 a.m.), Pisani (9:30 a.m.) and Chang (9:40 a.m.). The entire round can be followed live at www.golfstat.com.