Gophers Set to Host Eighth Annual Gopher Invitational

Go Gophers!
Erik Van Rooyen finished in a tie for 12th at last season's Gopher Invitational.

Go Gophers!
Erik Van Rooyen finished in a tie for 12th at last season's Gopher Invitational.
Go Gophers!

Aug. 20, 2012

The University of Minnesota men's golf program will open the 2012-13 season by hosting the eighth annual Gopher Invitational Sept. 9-10 at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn. The first and second rounds will be played consecutively on Sunday, beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Tee times for Monday's final round will also begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available on site.

The field, the largest in the tournament’s seven years, features 15 teams from 11 different collegiate conferences, including St. John’s University (Minn.) from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Big Ten Conference has the biggest representation, as the host Minnesota Golden Gophers are joined by the University of Iowa and Penn State University.

The Nittany Lions are making their second consecutive Gopher Invitational appearance while the Hawkeyes are making their fifth consecutive appearance at the par 72, 7,020-yard Tom Fazio designed layout. Iowa finished sixth last season and Penn State finished ninth.

Arizona State, California, New Mexico, Memphis, Oklahoma and St. John’s will be making their Gopher Invitational debuts this season. Cal, New Mexico, Memphis and Oklahoma are coming off seasons that included NCAA appearances. The Golden Bears led the way with a third place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships.

Southern Methodist University is making its seventh consecutive visit to the Gopher Invite and will once again come to Minnesota as the Gopher Invite record holders. The Mustangs set a tournament record with a combined 54-hole score of nine-under par 855 en route to the 2009 title. Former SMU star, and 2011 U.S. Amateur champion, Kelly Kraft set the individual record that same year with a medalist score of 15-under par 201.

Arkansas returns to Spring Hill for a sixth straight season but the first time as the defending team champion. The Razorbacks fought back from eight strokes down after 18 holes and four strokes down after 36 on the way to a three-shot victory over North Texas. The Mean Green will be back again in 2012.   

Lamar University is back for a fourth straight year, and sixth time overall, after taking home the team title in 2007. The Cardinals finished 10th in last year's Gopher Invitational. Rounding out the field are Charlotte (fourth appearance) and Kent State (third appearance). The 49ers finished fifth last season while the Flashes finished in eighth place.

The 2012-13 Golden Gophers will be led by senior Erik Van Rooyen. Van Rooyen appeared in 11 tournaments during his junior campaign, finishing with the team's lowest stroke average of 72.45, tied for the ninth-lowest in the history of the program. He accumulated three top-10 and seven top-20 finishes on the season.

Van Rooyen, the reigning Minnesota State Amateur champion, qualified for the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional last season, finishing in a tie for 19th, and was named to the PING All-Region Team. He comes into his final collegiate season with a career stroke average of 73.68 which qualifies for the ninth-best stroke average in the history of Golden Gopher Golf.

Also returning are seniors Robert Bell, David Haley Jr. and Shang Zhi, juniors Alex Gaugert, Saul Menendez and Jon Trasamar and sophomores Colton Buege, Genki Hirayama and Tyler Lowenstein.

The Gophers 2012-13 roster will also include a pair of redshirt freshmen in Charlie Braniff and Patrick Johnston and true freshman Jon DuToit (Chaska, Minn.). DuToit finished his scholastic career tying for first place at the Minnesota Class 3A State Championships.

Kyle Beversdorf will also be making his Gopher debut this season. He redshirted last season (NCAA transfer rules) following one season at Northern Iowa. Beversdorf recently made it to the semifinals of the United States Amateur Public Links Championship in Utah.  

All-Time Gopher Invitational results and team capsules for the seventh Annual Gopher Invitational are below.

Gopher Invitational

Team Champion

Individual Champion

2005

Minnesota – 883 (+19)

Nail Turner – Minnesota (215, -1)

2006

Stanford – 889 (+25)

Colt Knost – SMU (214, -2)

 

 

Zach Miller – Stanford (214, -2)

2007

Lamar – 868 (+4)

Casey Clendenon – Lamar (215, -1)

 

 

Danny Zimmerman – Wisc. (215, -1)

2008

LSU/Texas – 872 (+8)

Mike Van Sickle – Marquette (213, -3)

2009

SMU – 855 (-9)

Kelly Kraft – SMU (201, -15)

2010

LSU – 869 (+5)

John Hahn – Kent State (206, -10)

2011

Arkansas – 880 (+16)

Chris Brant – Iowa (214, -2)

 

Gopher Invitational Team Capsules (2012 Final Golfweek Ranking):

Arizona State University (80) - Coached by Tim Mickelson (2nd year at Arizona State)... first appearance in the Gopher Invite field…collected five top-10 finishes on the season…finished 11th at the 2012 Pac 12 Championships. Top returning player: Mathias Schjoelberg (sophomore)…played in all 11 of the team’s tournaments as a freshman (one top-10 finish)…led the team with a 73.97 stroke average.

University of Arkansas (12) - Coached by Brad McMakin (7th year at Arkansas)...sixth straight appearance at the Gopher Invite...took home the 2011 Gopher Invite title, finished third in 2010, second in 2009, ninth in 2008 and second in 2007...collected 10 top-five finishes on the season, including seven team titles…finished second at the SEC Championships…finished sixth at the 2012 NCAA Regionals. Top returning player: Sebastian Cappelen (junior)...finished with a stroke average of 72.21 last season, second-lowest on the team...collected four top-10 finishes on the season, including medalist honors at Cabo Collegiate…played in the 2012 U.S. Amateur.

University of California (6) - Coached by Steve Desimone (34th year at Cal)...first appearance in the Gopher Invite field…finished in the top-five in every tournament last season, including six team victories…won the 2012 Pac 12 Championship…finished first at the NCAA Stanford Regional…finished in a tie for fourth place after the stroke play portion of the NCAA Championships…finished in a tie for third following match play. Top returning players: Max Homa (senior)…led the Bears with a 71.2 stroke average last season, just ahead of Brandon Hagy (71.4) and Michael Kim (71.4)…Homa, Hagy, Kim and Michael Weaver played in the 2012 U.S. Amateur.

Charlotte 49ers (76) - Coached by Ryan Cabbage (2nd year at Charlotte)…fourth appearance in the Gopher Invite field...finished fifth in last season's event, fourth in 2010 and fourth in 2009...collected seven top-five finishes on the season…finished second at 2012 Atlantic 10 Championships...qualified for 2012 NCAA Regionals, finishing in 11th place. Top returning player: Raoul Menard (sophomore)...played in all 12 of the team’s events, finishing his freshman season with a 73.46 stroke average…led the team at the NCAA Regionals with a tie for 16th individual finish.

University of Iowa (27) - Coached by Mark Hankins (6th year at Iowa)... one of three Big Ten Conference teams in the field...fifth straight appearance in the Gopher Invite field...finished sixth last season, sixth at 2010 Invite, fifth in 2009 and fourth in 2008…finished in sixth place at 2012 Big Ten Championships…finished fifth at NCAA Regional and 22nd at NCAA Championships. Top returning player: Steven Ihm (junior)...finished his sophomore season with a 73.87 stroke average…named to the PING all Region team…second team All-Big Ten last season.

Kent State University (15) - Coached by Herb Page (35th year at Kent State)...third straight appearance in the Gopher Invite field...finished eighth last season and second in 2010…collected 10 top-five finishes on the season, including five titles…won the 2012 Mid-American Conference title, the squad’s third straight conference crown...finished third at NCAA Regional and tied for fifth at 2012 NCAA Championships. Top returning player: Corey Conners (junior)...finished sophomore season with a team-low stroke average of 71.7...comes into the season with a career stroke average of 73.5…collected three top-five finishes on the season, including medalist honors at 2012 MAC Championships...played in the 2012 U.S. Amateur.

Lamar University (49) - Coached by Brian White (13th year at Lamar)...sixth appearance in the Gopher Invitational field...won the 2007 Gopher Invitational team title...finished 10th last season, fifth in 2011, ninth in 2009 and fifth in 2006…collected five top-five finishes last season…won the 2012 Southland Conference Championship…qualified for the 2011 NCAA Regionals, finishing fourth…finished 25th at the NCAA Championships. Top returning player: Luke Jerling (sophomore)...finished last season with the team’s second-lowest stroke average of 74.0...was in the lineup for all 14 events…collected four top-10 finishes, including medalist honors at the Wolfpack Spring Open.

University of Memphis (40) - Coached by Grant Robbins (11th year at Memphis)... first appearance in the Gopher Invitational field… finished in the top-five in all but one regular season events last year, including two wins…won the 2012 Conference USA Championship…qualified for the 2012 NCAA Regionals, finishing fifth…finished 28th at the NCAA Championships. Top returning player: Steve Lee (senior)…played in all of the team’s tournaments last season, finishing with a 74.3 stroke average.

University of New Mexico (20) - Coached by Glen Millican (11th year at New Mexico)... first appearance in the Gopher Invitational field…finished in the top-five in all but two regular season events last year…finished in a tie for third at the 2012 Mountain West Championships…qualified for the 2012 NCAA Regionals, finishing sixth...missed qualifying for NCAA Championships by one shot. Top returning player: John Catlin (senior)… was in the lineup for all 14 events…led the team with a 71.83 stroke average…finished in a tie for 18th at the NCAA Southeast Regional.

University of North Texas (31) - Coached by Brad Stracke (5th year at North Texas)...second appearance in Gopher Invitational field…finished second in last year’s invite….won the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Championship…qualified for the 2012 NCAA Regionals, finishing in seventh place. Top returning player: Carlos Ortiz (senior)...finished last season with the team’s second-lowest scoring average of 72.27…collected five top-10 finishes on the season….a three-time All-Sun Belt performer.

University of Oklahoma (26) - Coached by Ryan Hybl (4th year at Oklahoma)...first appearance in the Gopher Invitational field…finished fourth at the Big 12 Championships…qualified for the 2012 NCAA Regionals, finishing fifth…finished in 11th place at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Top returning player: Abraham Ancer (senior)…led the team with a 72.50 stroke average last season…collected four top-10 finishes on the season…will enter the season with a 72.28 career stroke average...played in 2012 U.S. Amateur.

Penn State University (133) - Coached by Greg Nye (21st year at PSU)... second appearance in the Gopher Invitational field…finished ninth in last season’s invite…collected four top-five finishes…finished eighth at the 2012 Big Ten Championships. Top returning player: Anthony DeGol (senior)... finished last season with the team’s lowest scoring average of 74.1…played in eight tournaments a season ago…collected three top-10 finishes.

Southern Methodist University (42) - Coached by Josh Gregory (2nd year at SMU)...has appeared in all seven Gopher Invitational tournaments...set a new invite record en route to capturing the 2009 Gopher Invite title...finished fourth last season, ninth in 2010, 10th in 2008, ninth in 2007, third in 2006 and 10th in 2005....qualified for the 2012 NCAA Regionals, finishing seventh. Top returning player: Harry Higgs (junior)...finished last season with the team’s second-lowest scoring average of 73.31…was in the lineup for all of the team’s tournaments…heads into the season with a career stroke average of 74.49.

St. John’s University (NA) - Coached by Bob Alpers (20th year at St. John’s)...first appearance in Gopher Invitational field…a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference…finished third at the 2011 MIAC Championships…collected eight top-five finishes last season, including three titles. Top returning player: Dennis Granath (senior)…led the team with 74.5 stroke average last season…collected five top-five and six top-10 finishes on the season…comes into the season with a 74.4 career stroke average.


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