Former University of Minnesota All-American Justin Smith shot 6-under par 71 in the final round of the Christmas in October Classic at Overland Park, Kan. on the Nationwide Tour to finish tied for ninth. Smith opened the four-day event with an opening round of 2-under par 71.
A native of Moon Township, Penn., Smith earned three All-American honors while competing in 48 tournaments for Minnesota, finishing fourth on Minnesota’s all-time career stroke average list with an average of 73.16. In his senior season, Smith competed in all 12 events, leading the team with a 72.25 stroke average. Smith was a member of the 2002 NCAA Championship team, leading the Golden Gophers with a fourth-place finish.
Another former Gopher finishing in the top 10 was Clayton Rask, who fired a final round of 4-under par 71 to finish second at the Seafroth Country Classic on the Canadian Tour. Rask opened up the four-day event with a tournament low 8-under par 71. It was the second straight week Rask has placed second in an event after placing runner-up at the Montreal Open.
An All-American in 2008, Rask, a native of Elk River, Minn., competed in 36 events as a Gopher, finishing with a career 74.47 stroke average. As a senior, Rask shot a stroke average of 72.9 while competing in all 11 team tournaments.
Smith and Rask are just two of the many former Gophers that are playing professionally around the world, including Victor Almstrom, Matt Anderson, Bronson La’Cassie, Simon Nash and Niall Turner as well as John Harris on the Champions Tour and Tom Lehman on the PGA Tour.
Minnesota finished runner-up at the 2009 Big Ten Championships and was awarded a spot in the NCAA Northeast Regional. In eight seasons under the guidance of Director of Golf Brad James and Associate Head Coach Andrew Tank, Minnesota has finished first of second at the Big Ten Championships five times, including three titles (2002, 2003, 2007) and finished no worse than fourth.
Also, the Gophers have advanced to regional play in all but one season under Director of Golf Brad James, winning the 1999 Central Region with a score of 865. Minnesota has advanced through the regional into the NCAA Championships nine times since 1993 and captured the 2002 NCAA title in Columbus, Ohio with a score of 1134.