Golfers Overcome Conditions, Share Gopher Team Title
WAYZATA, Minn. — Despite battling through a steady rain storm during Sunday’s final round, the LSU men’s golf team ended a three-year drought by being crowned co-champions of the 2008 Gopher Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota at Spring Hill Golf Club.
The Tigers, who opened the final round with a four-shot lead over 24th-ranked Texas, wrapped up Sunday’s competition with an 11-over 299 in the final round and a 54-hole score of 8-over 872 to share the team championship with the favored Longhorns.
LSU has fired out of the blocks this season by winning its first tournament title in three years with a victory at the 2005 Shoal Creek Intercollegiate on Sept. 27, 2005.
“This is certainly a great start to the season for our team,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. “Today was a very difficult day to play golf, to say the least. I think it says a lot about the guys on the team to compete in these conditions and come out on top. We certainly have room to improve these next two weeks, but I know we’re anxious to get back out there and compete.”
Sophomore standout Clayton Rotz led the way in the final round by firing an even-par 72 to wrap up the tournament with his third career Top 10 finish, tying for eighth place with a three-day total of 3-over 219. It is his first Top 10 since tying for eighth at the Squire Creek Invitational last fall.
But Rotz was not the only Tiger to finish in the Top 10 of the leaderboard as touted true freshman Sang Yi tied for fifth place at even-par 216 in his collegiate debut and sophomore John Peterson posted a 1-over 217 to finish in seventh place in the season opener for the Tigers.
Not since winning the team championship at the 2003 Baylor Invitational in Waco, Texas, has the team seen three of its members finish in the Top 10 of the leaderboard in the same event.
Yi was quite impressive in his first appearance in an LSU uniform after wrapping up the weekend with a 1-over 73 in the final round following scores of 2-under 70 on Friday and 1-over 73 on Saturday. After grabbing a two-shot lead with rounds of 4-under 68 and 2-under 70, Peterson was the seventh-place finisher at this year’s event following a 7-over 79 in the final round.
“This was a great event for us to kick off the season,” Winstead said. “We have certainly enjoyed our time here and look forward to what lies ahead. It’s time for us to go back to work and begin to build on what was accomplished this weekend. The future is certainly very bright, and I’m proud of the way our guys represented themselves, this program and LSU this weekend.”
The Tigers will break for two weeks before returning to action at the fourth-annual Shoal Creek Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Alabama-Birmingham at historic Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. The two-day, 54-hole tournament is set to begin on Sept. 22, and LSU is looking to improve upon its 10th-place finish in the event a year ago.
TEAM STANDINGS (Par 864)
T1. LSU 284-289-299 ? 872 +8; T1. Texas 282-295-295 ? 872 +8; 3. Washington 292-297-290 ? 879 +15; 4. Iowa 299-281-303 ? 883 +19; 5. Wisconsin 304-285-295 ? 884 +20; T6. Marquette 298-291-298 ? 887 +23; T6. Minnesota 298-295-294 ? 887 +23; T6. Pepperdine 291-288-308 ? 887 +23; 9. Arkansas 305-286-299 ? 890 +26; 10. SMU 311-302-310 ? 923 +59; 11. Iowa State 311-315-299 ? 925 +61; 12. Yale 307-313-306 ? 926 +62.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 216)
1. Mike Van Sickle, Marquette, 74-67-72 ? 213 -3; T2. David Lingmerth, Arkansas, 74-70-71 ? 215 -1; T2. Cole Peevler, Iowa, 74-67-74 ? 215 -1; T2. Charlie Holland, Texas, 67-73-75 ? 215 -1; T5. Sang Yi, LSU, 70-73-73 ? 216 E; T5. Richard Lee, Washington, 71-74-71 ? 216 E; 7. John Peterson, LSU, 68-70-79 ? 217 +1; T8. Clayton Rotz, LSU, 72-75-72 ? 219 +3; T8. Ben Pisani, Minnesota, 73-73-73 ? 219 +3; T8. Donald Constable, Texas, 70-78-71.