After missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 11 years, Minnesota men’s golfers used this summer to relax and gain confidence.
“They could put behind them the disappointments of the college season and sort of had a fresh start to get out there and enjoy playing golf,” associate head coach Andrew Tank said.
Senior Yu Katayama won the 2008 Minnesota State Open and took third in the U.S. Amateur Section qualifier.
“I had been working really hard with my swing and it paid off,” Katayama said. “My main goal was to get my confidence back during the summer. After winning the state open, I definitely did. I got a really good feeling about it carrying over to the fall.”
Katayama feels he can focus more on golf during the summer, and senior Andrew Paulson felt the same way.
“You don’t have other things to worry about like academics,” Paulson said. “You go out and practice every day and go to a tournament and play. You don’t have to worry about much else.”
Along with making it to round 16 of the U.S. Amateur Public Links tournament, senior Andrew Paulson shot a 72 to tie for ninth in the Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship, which he won in 2006.
“A lot of us play really well during the summer, and I really couldn’t put my finger on why. It’s just the way it is, I guess,” Paulson said.
Tank encourages his players to play as much as they can during the summer, even though they run the risk of getting burnt out.
The college season goes from February to May and the summer tournaments go from June to August, with the college season starting up in September.
“Most of our guys pace themselves well,” Tank said.
Joining the men, Gophers women’s golfers also experienced success this summer.
Sophomore Michele Edlin took sixth in the Minnesota State Women’s Amateur tournament where she tied for 16th in 2007 .
Senior Kelli Berns came in fourth in the same tournament this summer, and last year she tied for 22nd. Sophomore Mary Narzisi also took second at the Women’s Western Golf Championship and fifth at the Minnesota State Amateur .
Playing that much during the summer has allowed Minnesota golfers a chance to improve.
“Anytime you go out and play against better players, you turn into a better player,” coach Kristine Wessinger said.
Her golfers played an average of one to two tournaments a week to keep a balance of practice and play and to avoid getting burnt out.
Wessinger said she encourages play during the summer months to help golfers get prepared for the fall season.
“We want them to be competing at top level when they come back for fall,” Wessinger said. “You always learn, every time you go out and compete, whether it’s a good round or bad round.”
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