The University of Minnesota men's golf program announced the participating teams for the 2010 Gopher Invitational. The sixth annual event will take place at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn., on Sept. 12-13. The first and second rounds will be played consecutively on Sunday, beginning with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Tee times for Monday's final round will begin at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The field features 11 teams from eight different collegiate conferences. The Big Ten Conference has the biggest representation, as the host Minnesota Golden Gophers are joined by the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes are making their third consecutive appearance in the Gopher Invitational while the Badgers are back at the par 72, 7,020-yard Tom Fazio designed layout for a fourth consecutive year. Wisconsin finished runner-up in the 2007 event.
Southern Methodist University is making its sixth consecutive visit to the Gopher Invite and will come to Minnesota as the defending Gopher Invite champions. The Mustangs set a tournament record with a combined 54-hole score of nine-under par 855 en route to the title. Arkansas, which is back for fourth straight year, finished 10 strokes behind SMU last year.
Lamar University is back for a second straight year, a fourth time overall, after taking home the team title in 2007. The Cardinals finished ninth in last year's invite. Rounding out the field is Kent State (first appearance), Louisiana State (second appearance) and Marquette, UNC Charlotte and UNC Greensboro - all of which are making their second trip to the Gopher Invitational. LSU is back after tying the University of Texas for the team title in 2008.
In its short tenure, the Gopher Invitational has been an excellent barometer of future success in that season's NCAA Championships. Minnesota won the inaugural Gopher Invitational in 2005 and went on to finish third in the 2006 NCAA Championships the next spring. The Stanford Cardinal edged the Gophers in 2006 and went on to capture the NCAA Championship.
The 2010-11 Gophers will be under the direction of newly appointed Director of Golf John Harris. Harris comes back to the "U" after a successful professional career on and off the course..
On the course, the Gophers will be led by senior Donald Constable. He played in five tournaments for last spring as a junior after transferring from the University of Texas. He posted a stroke average of 74.81, the second-best on the team and was Minnesota's top finisher at the Big Ten Championships in May with a 16th place finish.
Constable, a Wayzata, Minn. native, has played well all summer. He won the 2010 North & South Amateur Championship title, finished runner-up 2010 MGA Players Championship and runner-up at the 2010 Minnesota State Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur after taking medalist honors at a local qualifier. He also missed qualifying for this year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by one stroke.
Also returning is senior Cameron White, sophomores Robert Bell, David Haley Jr., Tim Peterzen, Erik Van Rooyen and Shang Zhi and redshirt freshman Jon Trasamar. The Gophers will also have five newcomers on the 2010-11 roster, including Genki Hirayama, Alex Gaugert, Colton Buege, Garrett Fotu and Saul Menendez.
Many other top individuals will be part of the 2010 Gopher Invitational field including Arkansas trio Austin Cook, Josh Eure and Ethan Tracy, Iowa's Vince India, Jed Dirksen and Barrett Kelpin, Kent State's John Hahn, Mackenzie Hughes and J.P. Paiement, LSU's Franco Castro, Andrew Presley, Clayton Rotz and Sang Li, Charlotte's Andy Sajevic and Greensboro's Matt Younts. All of these players, along with Minnesota's Constable, recently played in the U.S. Amateur.
All-Time Gopher Invitational results and team capsules for the sixth Annual Gopher Invitational are below.
Minnesota - 883 (+19)
Nail Turner - Minnesota (215, -1)
Stanford - 889 (+25)
Colt Knost - SMU (214, -2)
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Zack Miller - Stanford (214, -2)
Lamar - 868 (+4)
Casey Clendenon - Lamar (215, -1)
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Danny Zimmerman - Wisconsin (215, -1)
LSU/Texas - 872 (+8)
Mike Van Sickle - Marquette (213, -3)
SMU - 855 (-9)
Kelly Kraft - SMU (201, -15)
University of Arkansas - Coached by Brad McMakin (5th year at Arkansas)...member of the Southeastern Conference...fourth straight appearance at the Gopher Invite...finished second at the 2009 Gopher Invite, ninth in 2008 and second in 2007...qualified for the 2010 NCAA Regional, finishing eighth...took fourth at the 2010 SEC Championships.
Top returning player: Jamie Marshall (Senior)...finished second on the team with a 72.53 stroke average last season...comes into the season with a career stroke average of 74.51 in 29 career tournaments...garnered PING All-Central Region honors as a junior...took medalist honors with a 10-under par 206 at the Wolverine at Radrick Farms, his first collegiate individual title.
University of Iowa - Coached by Mark Hankins (4th year at Iowa)...third straight appearance in the Gopher Invite field...took fifth at 2009 Invite and fourth in 2008...one of three Big Ten Conference teams in the field...finished last season with its highest national ranking in school history....compiled 10 top-five team tournament finishes...finished second at the 2010 Big Ten Championships...qualified for the NCAA Central Regional, finishing sixth.
Top returning player: Brad Hopfinger (Junior)...finished his junior season with a team-low 72.5 stroke average, the lowest single-season scoring average in program history....tied for 11th at NCAA Central Regional.
Kent State University - coached by Herb Page (34th year at Kent State)...first appearance in the Gopher Invite field...won 2010 Mid-American Conference title...won 2010 NCAA East Regional title...finished 20th at NCAA Championships.
Top returning player: John Hahn (Senior)...finished sixth at 2010 NCAA Championships...recorded a team and career-low stroke average of 71.98 last season...earned six top 10 finishes on the season, including tying for first at the MAC Championships...has a career average of 72.35, the second-lowest in program history.
Lamar University- coached by Brian White (11th year at Lamar)...fourth appearance in the Gopher Invite field...won the 2007 Gopher Invitational team title...finished fifth in the 2006 event and ninth in 2009...finished sixth in the 2010 Southland Championships...made nine-straight NCAA Regional appearances from 2001-09.
Top returning player: Pierre-Alexis Rolland (Sophomore)...participated as an individual in the 2010 NCAA Southwest Regional...led the Cardinals with a 73.28 stroke average during the regular season...was a second-team All-Southland Conference performer a season ago.
Louisiana State University - coached by Chuck Winstead (6th year at LSU)...second appearance in Gopher Invite field...tied for first with Texas at 2008 event...took fifth at the 2010 SEC Championships...finished fifth at the 2010 NCAA Central regional...finished the season with a 24th place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Top returning player: Andrew Loupe (Senior)...led the Tigers with a 72.0 average last season...will enter his senior campaign with a 73.2 career average...claimed six top-10 finishes, including a tie for 4th result at the SEC Championships.
Marquette University- Coached by Steve Bailey (1st year at Marquette)...will be Coach Bailey's first event as a head coach...was previously the associate head coach at Northwestern...second appearance in Gopher Invite field...tied for sixth at 2008 event...tied for ninth at the 2010 Big East Championships...collected three top-five finishes, including back-to-back third place finishes at the Xavier Invitational and Firestone Invitational.
Top returning player: Kelly Kretz (Senior)...was second on the team with a 74.3 stroke average in 2009-10....played in all nine events for the Golden Eagles...collected three top-10 finishes.
Southern Methodist University - coached by Jay Loar (13th year at Southern Methodist)...have appeared in all five Gopher Invitational's...set a new invite record en route to capturing the 2009 Gopher Invite title...finished 10th in 2008, ninth in 2007, third in 2006 and 10th in 2005....finished 10th at the 2010 NCAA West Regional...finished fourth at 2010 Conference USA Championships.
Top returning player: Kelly Kraft (senior)...took medalist honors at the 2009 Gopher Invite with a tournament record score of 15-under 201...three-time First Team All-Conference USA selection...named 2010 Conference USA Player of the Year...held a team-best stroke average of 71.85 in 2009-10.
UNC Charlotte - coached by Adam Pry (3rd year at UNC Charlotte)...second appearance in the Gopher Invite field...finished fourth in last season's event...won fifth straight Atlantic 10 Championship...finished in a tie for sixth at the 2010 NCAA East Regional...finished in the top-10 in all 2009-10 tournaments.
Top returning player: Olafur Loftsson (Junior)...played in all of team's 12 tournaments last season...finished his sophomore season with a 72.11 stroke average, the second lowest on the team...named PING All-East Region last season.
UNC Greensboro - coached by Terrance Stewart (10th year at UNC Greensboro)...second appearance in the Gopher Invite field...finished 10 at last year's invite...took third at the 2010 Southern Conference Championships...won the team title at the Georgetown Intercollegiate and the Fireline Towson Invitational.
Top returning player: Robert Hoadley (Sophomore)...led the 2009-10 squad with a 73.03 stroke average...took home medalist honors at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate...tied for 15th at the 2010 Southern Conference Championships.
University of Wisconsin - coached by Jim Schuman (7th year at Wisconsin)...fourth appearance in the Gopher Invite field...finished eighth in 2009, fifth in 2008 and second in 2007...one of three Big Ten Conference teams in the field...finished 11th at the 2010 Big Ten Championships.
Top returning player: Michael Sorenson (Sophomore)...posted a 74.90 stroke average in 2009-10, the lowest amongst returners...best finish was a tie for 10th at the Memphis Intercollegiate last fall...led the team with an 8-over par 292 at the Big Ten Championships.