Sep 5, 2013
For the ninth time in a row, but the first time at Windsong Farm Golf Club, the University of Minnesota men's golf team will open its season by hosting the Gopher Invitational. Held in Independence, Minn., the tournament will begin with 36 holes on Sunday, Sept. 8 and end with 18 on Monday, Sept. 9.
Eleven teams will join the Gophers in this year's field, including 2012-13's national No. 1 team and Gopher Invitational champion in California. Individual medalist Corey Conners will also return to this year's event with Kent State. The tournament is free and open for the public to watch.
The 2013-14 Gophers will look to build on their second-place finish at last season's Big Ten Championships. It was Minnesota's best finish at the conference tournament since 2009. The team's top finisher, Erik Van Rooyen, has graduated, but the Gophers still have a talented group returning for John Carlson's third season as Minnesota's head coach.
Minnesota's top returning players include sophomore Jon DuToit and senior Jon Trasamar. DuToit finished in a tie for eighth at the Big Ten Championships and went on to win the Minnesota State Open in the summer. Trasamar tied for 17th at the conference tournament and won the 81st Pine to Palm over the summer.
Minnesota is looking for its first Gopher Invitational title since the inaugural tournament at Spring Hill in 2005. This weekend's tournament is the first of 12 the Gophers will play this season before the NCAA Regional.
Gopher Invitational Team Capsules (2012-13 Final Golfweek Ranking)
Baylor University (48) - Coached by Greg Priest (11th season)...first appearance in the Gopher Invitational...tallied seven top-five finishes in 2012, including a win at the Warrior Wave Intercollegiate...finished sixth at the Big 12 Championships...finished 10th at the NCAA Pullman Regional. Top returning player: Kyle Jones (junior)...had a team-best stroke average of 72.46...led the Bears at the NCAA Regional, tying for 23rd (-2)...had eight top-25 finishes, including three top-10 finishes...won the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational.
University of California (1) - Coached by Steve Desimone (35th season)...returning to the Gopher Invitational for a second year after winning in 2012...advanced to the NCAA Championship match play semifinals after posting the lowest team score in stroke play...won 11 tournaments, a modern-era NCAA single-season record...won the Pac-12 Championships. Top returning player: Michael Kim (junior)...Cal's first National Player of the Year...Pac-12 Player of the Year...had 70.14 stroke average...finished second at the 2012 Gopher Invitational...low amateur at the U.S. Open...Kim, Michael Weaver and recent Cal grad Max Homa were selected for the USA Walker Cup team, with teammate Brandon Hagy as the first alternate.
University of Central Arkansas (89) - Coached by Ryke Dismuke (11th season)...second at the Southland Conference Championships...won two tournaments and finished second in three. Top returning player: Pep Angles (junior)...Southland Conference Golfer of the Year...second at the conference tournament...held a 72.6 season stroke average.
Iowa State University (95) - Coached by Andrew Tank (4th season)...second appearance in the Gopher Invitational...finished 11th in 2008...finished ninth at the Big 12 Championships...posted three top-five finishes on the season... head coach Andrew Tank is a U of M grad and served as an assistant coach at the U of M from 2002-10. Top returning player: Scott Fernandez (junior)...Second-Team All-American...All-Big 12...had seven top-five finishes, including one win, and a 71.27 stroke average...NCAA Regional competitor.
Kent State University (23) - Coached by Herb Page (37th season)...fourth consecutive Gopher Invitational appearance...finished fourth last year, eighth in 2011 and second in 2010...won the Mid-American Conference Championships and two other tournaments...tied for 27th at the NCAA Championships. Top returning players: Taylor Pendrith (senior)...MAC champion and MAC Golfer of the Year...also won another tournament and had five top-five finishes overall...had a 72.80 stroke average. Corey Conners (senior)...2012 Gopher Invitational champion...had six top-five finishes...PING All-America Third Team...All-MAC... stroke average of 72.07...Canada's top-ranked amateur golfer.
Michigan State University (101) - Coached by Casey Lubahn (3rd season)...third appearance in the Gopher Invitational...finished seventh in 2007 and fourth in 2006...finished eighth at the Big Ten Championships...won the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic...second at Big Ten Match Play. Top returning player: Mitch Rutledge (sophomore)...posted three top-20 finishes...had a stroke average of 75.7...24 of 33 rounds counted.
University of New Mexico (5) - Coached by Glen Millican (13th season)...second Gopher Invitational appearance in a row, finishing fifth in 2012...fifth at the NCAA Championships...won the NCAA Columbus Regional...won the Mountain West Championships...won three other tournaments and finished second in two. Top returning player: Gavin Green (junior)...third-team PING All-American...PING All-Region after tying for sixth...third at the Mountain West tournament...posted six top-10 finishes, including a win at UNM's Tucker Invitational.
University of Notre Dame (117) - Coached by Jim Kubinski (10th season)...sixth appearance in the Gopher Invitational...finished third in 2011, sixth in 2009, third in 2007, ninth in 2006 and fifth in 2005...finished third at the Big East Championships...more stuff. Top returning player: Niall Platt (senior)...fifth at the Big East Championships...had a 73.41 stroke average...won the Macdonald Cup.
Penn State University (131) - Coached by Greg Nye (22nd season)...third appearance in a row...finished 15th in 2012, ninth in 2011 and ninth in 2010...finished 11th at the Big Ten Championships...posted four top-three tournament finishes, including a win at the Colleton River Challenge. Top returning players: Jens Talbert and Xander McDonald-Smith (juniors)...both PING All-Region...Talbert had a 75.09 stroke average and five top-20 finishes last season...McDonald-Smith had a 75.43 stroke average and three top-20 finishes.
St. John's University (NA) - Coached by Bob Alpers (21st season at St. John's)...second appearance in the Gopher Invitational (14th last season)...finished sixth in the Division III national tournament...MIAC Championships runner-up. Top returning player: Casey Vangsness (senior)...PING Division III All-American...held a 74.3 stroke average...fourth at the 2012 MIAC fall conference meet.
University of Toledo (126) - Coached by Jamie Broce (2nd season at Toledo)...first appearance in the Gopher Invitational field...finished second at the MAC Championships...won the Georgetown Intercollegiate. Top returning player: Chris Selfridge (junior)...MAC runner-up who led the league with a 72.1 stroke average...eight top-10 finishes, including a win at the Georgetown Intercollegiate...PING All- Region...2013 North of Ireland Amateur champion.
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