THIS WEEK: The Minnesota women’s golf team heads to Rio Verde, Arizona this week where they will compete against 16 other midwest collegiate squads at the Rio Verde Invitational. This year’s event, hosted by Western Michigan, will take place on Rio Verde’s Quail Run Course. Quail Run is a 6,313-yard, par 72 test that features level terrain and few water hazards. The Gophers will play a practice round Thursday before beginning the 54-hole tournament on Friday and concluding on Sunday.
THE FIELD: After playing against a bevvy of ranked teams in their first spring tournament of the year in Puerto Rico on February 26-28, the Gophers return to action this week against 16 other midwest schools. This year’s field includes Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bowling Green, Bradley, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, (Minnesota), Missouri State, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Ohio, Southern Illinois, Texas Tech, Toledo, Western Michigan, Wisconsin and Xavier
LAST YEAR: A year ago in Rio Verde, the Gophers finished in the middle of the 18-team field in a three-way tie for ninth with Cincinnati and Xavier. The Gophers tied the Bearcats and Musketeers with a 54-hole total of 920 (+56). Baylor, who is not included in this year’s field, won last year’s event with a three-shot margin over Arkansas-Little Rock with a three day total of 886 (+22). For Minnesota, current junior Sydney Liles (Omaha, Neb.) was the Gophers’ highest finisher last year as a sophomore, firing a three round total of 224 (+8) to finish alone in 12th. Other top finishers from last year are current senior Kellie Berns (Annandale, Minn.), who finished in a tie for 55th, and sophomore Christine Herzog (Detroit Lakes, Minn.) who finished in a tie for 83rd as a freshman a year ago.
THE GOPHERS: The Golden Gophers will be represented this weekend by three freshmen, Teresa Puga, who made her U.S. collegiate debut on Feb. 24 in Puerto Rico, Samantha Sommers and Mary Narzisi, plus sophomore Christine Herzog and senior Emily Brand.
LADY PUERTO RICO CLASSIC RECAP: Minnesota fired a final-round 315 to equal its best score of the tournament but it wasn’t enough to help the Golden Gophers climb in the standings as the Maroon and Gold’s settled for an 18th place finish with a final score of 956. Freshman Teresa Puga, who made her collegiate debut, placed 73rd with a final score of 236 and was Minnesota’s highest individual finisher.
UP NEXT: Minnesota returns to action March 16-18, when the Golden Gophers travel to west again, this time to Patterson, Calif. for the Diablo Grande Intercollegiate. The 54-hole tournament is being hosted by Drake University at Diablo Grande Ranch, which is just east of the San Francisco Bay area.