The Minnesota men's golf team stands in a tie for ninth place after 36 holes of play at the Big Ten Championships at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence.
After a slow start with a score of 301 in the opening round, the Gophers improved to a 289 in the afternoon. Illinois holds a 12-shot lead at 562 over Iowa (574). The rest of the field is very tightly bunched with just 12 shots separating third and 10th place.
The teams battled rapidly-changing weather conditions throughout the day. The day began at 8 a.m. with light rain and soggy conditions from an overnight rain. The rain cleared right off the bat, giving way to partly cloudy skies and light winds. However, by 1 p.m. with the second roung beginning for some teams, the rain was back with variable winds and lasted for several hours before the entire weather system cleared out and the course was covered with sunny skies and light winds for the last hour or two of play.
The Gophers have a pair of players tied in 20th place with a 36-hole score of 146. Junior Donald Constable had a consistent second round with 16 pars to steady the Gophers to cap rounds of 73-73. Senior Thomas Campbell posted four birdies on the day with identical rounds of 73-73.
Sophomore Derek Chang had two completely different rounds en route to a 36-hole score of 149. After struggling to an 8-over 79 in the first round with no birdies on his card, Chang rebounded with a 1-under 70. He carded three birdies and posted Minnesota's best round of the tournament. He is tied for 33rd place.
Freshman Erik Van Rooyen also improved three shots in the second round after an opening round 76. Van Rooyen came back to shot a 2-over 73 in the second round and he also sits at 149.
Ben Pisani, the Gophers' top statistical player, struggled all afternoon. He had two double bogeys en route to a 79 in the first round and improved to a 75 in round two to sit at 154 in a tie for 47th place.
"The course played differently today," associate head coach Andrew Tank said. "With the rain, it was easier. It was real firm and fast in the weeks leading up to the tournament and in the practice round yesterday. We did prepare for firm and fast and out here practicing over the last two weeks and we didn't react fast enough. I expect to give best effort tomorrow and play like they are capable of. I'm not sure what that will mean score wise but I know we can play better than we did today. I think our best rounds are still out there."
Minnesota is hosting the Big Ten Championships for the first time since 1999 and for the first time at Windsong Farm Golf Club. Tomorrow's third round commences at 9 a.m.