Although the University of Minnesota women's golf team didn't accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a Big Ten Championship this season, the squad did prove they are one of the best teams to play at the "U". The Gophers secured their best finish at the championships since 2005 by finishing seventh with a score of 1,208.
Minnesota's 72-hole score of 1,208 at University Ridge Golf Club in Madison, Wis. is the best 72-hole score in the history of the program and would have won the 2009 Big Ten's. The Purdue Boilermakers, who won their third straight title, won in 2009 with a score of 1,209. This year's winning score was 1,158, a Big Ten Championships record.
Junior Samantha Sommers has put together one of the finest spring seasons in the history of the program and easily the best of her career. She concluded the regular season by posting the program's lowest 72-hole score, a six-over par 294, to finish alone in fifth place. Sommers' current spring stroke average of 76.09 is the third lowest in the history of the program.
Fellow Junior Teresa Puga, the Gophers' career scoring leader, has also played the best golf of her career this season. The A Coruna, Spain native secured her seventh top-10 finish after carding a nine-over par score of 297 on the weekend to finish in a tie for ninth. Her 72-hole tally is tied for the second best in Gopher history and is a personal best.
Puga started the season already holding the program's finest fall season with a 74.07 average in the fall of 2008 and will more than likely end this season with the program's lowest spring average, as well as lowest season average. Her spring average sits at 74.77 while her season average is 75.08.
Michele Edlin posted her lowest score at Big Ten's as well with a four-day total of 308. She finished in a tie for 32nd, also a career best in Big Ten play. Mary Narzisi posted her second consecutive 82 to finish in a tie for 52nd place. Christine Herzog and Jackie Shepherd both carded scores of 327 to tie for 63rd place. Shepherd, a true freshman, was awarded Minnesota's Sportsmanship Award.
The Purdue Boilermakers won their third consecutive championship and fourth in five years. Purdue came into the Championships as the eighth ranked team in the nation according to the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin ratings.
The season may not be over for the Gophers, however, as they will learn their NCAA fate on Monday afternoon. Minnesota has only appeared in the postseason five times (1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2001). The NCAA Regional's are scheduled for May 6-8 in various sites.