The Minnesota men’s golf team has had success when it comes to the Big Ten Championships, having come away from the weekend with the team title three times in the last seven years. After 36 holes of the 2009 event at Penn State’s Blue Course, the Gophers are again in contention.
Minnesota opened with a 3-over par 287 in the morning session and followed with a 294 in the afternoon to head into Saturday in a tie for third place with a 36-hole score of 581. The Gophers find themselves just two shots back of first place Ohio State. Illinois is one shot back of the Buckeyes in second. Individually, Northwestern's Eric Chun holds a one-shot lead over Jack Newman of Michigan State at 4-under par 138.
The Gophers have three players in the top 12 individually, led by junior Ben Pisani. Pisani’s opening round scorecard included five birdies and four bogeys as he made the 18-hole turn with a 1-under par 70, tying for his second-best score of the season. He added an even par round of 71 in the afternoon and heads to the third round in a tie for fifth place with a score of even par 142.
Freshman Derek Chang didn’t show any signs that this is his first Big Ten Championships, as he contributed an even par round of 71 and a 2-over par 73 for a first day score of 2-over 144. Chang started the afternoon session in a tie for ninth place but moved up three spots and is in a three-player tie for sixth.
Junior Thomas Campbell has played well all spring and it continued Friday in Happy Valley, as he carded rounds of 72 and 73 and heads into Saturday in a five- player tie for 13th.
Senior Victor Almstrom, a 2007 All-American, opened his final Big Ten Championships with rounds of 74 and 76 and is in a tie for 35th place. Almstrom finished in a tie for fifth individually in the 2008 championships. Yu Katayama, who is also playing in his final championships, carded rounds of 76 and 78 and is in a tie for 49th.
The third round of the 2009 Big Ten Championships are scheduled to get underway at 8:00 a.m. Central. Katayama will be the first Gopher to tee off on Saturday (8:50) followed by Almstrom (9:00), Campbell (9:10), Chang (9:20) and Pisani (9:30).
The entire third round can be followed live at www.golfstat.com.