Rio Verde Invitational: Minnesota’s spring season continues this weekend as they will travel to Scottsdale, Arizona to take part in the Rio Verde Invitational. The invitational will take place at the 6,260 yard, par 72 Rio Verde Country Club’s Quail Run Course.
The Gophers finished third at last season’s Rio Verde Invitational thanks to a school record 54-hole score of 894. The score was eight strokes better than the previous record of 902 that the Gophers carded in winning the 1985 Gopher Fall Invitational.
Minnesota’s second round total of 291 in last year’s event is tied for second all-time in the Gophers' record book for lowest 18-hole round and is the lowest score posted by a Minnesota team since they fired a 297 at the Minnesota Invitational in 1997.
Originally known as the East/West Rio Verde Invitational, the event is in its seventh year. Western Michigan, the host school, won the inaugural invite in 2003. Last year’s team champion was Notre Dame (294-290-291=875) and the individual medalist was Notre Dame’s So-Hyun Park (72-70-70=212). The Fighting Irish are not in this year’s field.
The tournament field includes a tournament-history record 20 teams: Akron, Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bowling Green, Bradley, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri State, Northern Arizona, Northwestern, Ohio, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan (host), Wisconsin, Xavier.
Puerto Rico Shootout Recap: The Gophers appeared in five events during the 2008 fall schedule and finished in the top-10 in all but one. That streak continued in the spring opener, as the Gophers garnered a 10th place finish with a 54-hole combined score of 933 (314-305-314) at the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan.
Sophomore Teresa Puga and freshman Courtney Massey led Minnesota by finishing in a six-way tie for 18th place at 13-over par (229). Massey, playing in her first collegiate tournament, fired rounds of 76, 74 and 79 in the three-day event while Puga carded rounds of 78, 74 and 77 for her fifth top-20 finish of the 2008-09 season.
Sophomores Mary Narzisi and Michele Edlin finished in a tie for 47th and 69th, respectively, while senior Paige Bromen finished in a tie for 76th. Kelli Berns played the shootout as an individual and finished in a tie for 65th.
The Gophers: Minnesota’s lineup for the Rio Verde Invitational will include senior Kelli Berns, sophomores Michele Edlin, Mary Narzisi and Teresa Puga and freshman Courtney Massey.
Up Next: The Gophers will be off until March 6-8 when they will travel to Charlotte, N. C. to take part in the Shamrock Invitational on Mar. 20-22 at Tega Cay Golf Club. Minnesota will also be part of the field at the Indiana Invitational (Apr. 6-7) and the Lady Buckeye (Apr. 18-19) before the Big Ten Championships on Apr. 24-26 at Birck Boilermaker Golf Club in West Lafayette, Indiana.