Gophers Open Season as Hosts The Gophers will open the 2009-10 season by hosting the Fifth Annual Gopher Invitational at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata.
2009 GOPHER INVITATIONAL: The Gopher Invitational has a history of attracting some of the top collegiate golf teams and individuals to the Twin Cities. 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 2007 NCAA Championship.
Lamar University took home the 2007 title in record fashion. The Cardinals shot a Gopher Invite record combined score of 4-over 868, winning by 22 strokes over the University of Arkansas and the University of Wisconsin.
The field features 12 teams from 10 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 second consecutive appearance in the Gopher Invitational while the Badgers are back at the par 72, 7,020-yard Tom Fazio designed layout for a third consecutive year.
Southern Methodist University is making its fifth consecutive visit to the Gopher Invite while Lamar University is back after taking home the team title in 2007. Rounding out the field are Arkansas (second appearance), Notre Dame (fourth appearance) and UNC Wilmington (second appearance) along with Miami (Ohio), Northern Iowa, UNC Charlotte and UNC Greensboro - all of which are making their first trip to the Gopher Invitational.
Not only will the play be impressive, the course will as well. Spring Hill Golf Club is regarded as one of the best golf courses used for collegiate golf tournaments. Spring Hill is a 7,020-yard Tom Fazio designed private course located in Wayzata, Minn.
2008-09 RECAP: The 2009-10 Gophers will be led by senior Ben Pisani. A Second Team All-Big Ten performer as a junior, Pisani led the Gophers in the fall and spring seasons in stroke average at 73.57 and 72.58, respectively. His combined stroke average of 73.11 tied him for the 19th-lowest in the history of Minnesota golf and is the lowest in the three seasons he has been at the U. Also returning are sophomore Derek Chang and senior Thomas Campbell. Chang played in 10 events during his freshman campaign and finished with a stroke average of 74.22, the third lowest on the team. Campbell played in eight events and recorded a stroke average of 75.28, the lowest of his Gopher career.
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 or second at the Big Ten Championships five times, including three titles (2002, 2003, 2007) and finished no worse than fourth.
THE GOPHERS: Most of Minnesota’s roster will be in action this week at Spring Hill. The lineup will include seniors Campbell and Pisani as well as Chang, a sophomore. Also, junior Cameron White and redshirt freshman Robert Bell. Minnesota will also have David Haley, Justin Kaplan, Chris Meyer, Tim Peterzen, Frederick Van Rooyen and Shang Zhi participating as individuals. Bell, Haley, Meyer, Peterzen, Van Rooyen and Zhi will all be making their collegiate debuts.