For the first time ever, the Big Ten golf championships will not be a home match for any school.
Playing at a neutral site is one of several major changes to this year’s championships.
Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be played on the same weekend at the same resort. The women’s championships will also feature 18 fewer holes than it did last year, making it a three-round, 54-hole tournament rather than a four-round, 72-hole event. The men will still play 72 holes.
Women’s head coach Michele Redman said she was in favor of the switch from 72 to 54 holes but said she was not too keen on the neutral site.
“We were the only conference that actually played a 72-hole conference championship,” Redman said. “I think [72 holes] is a lot of golf — especially on that golf course.”
Both the women’s and men’s championships will be played at the same venue, the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind., but the squads will not play the same course.
Men’s head coach John Carlson said that although he likes French Lick, he would rather see the tournament be moved every year. However, because he was not the Gophers’ head coach at the time, he did not have a say in the decision. The championships will be at French Lick for the next three years including this one.
“I would be against the neutral site option if I had a chance to vote as a head coach now,” Carlson said. “I think it’s great to go back to the universities. It’s good for these kids to be on campuses and use the opportunity for each of our Big Ten schools to rally their booster clubs.”
The men will play the resort’s Pete Dye Course, which was the site of the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship. The course is a par-72 and is 7,152 yards from the professional tees.
The women will play the Donald Ross Course, which is a par-70.
The Big Ten championships will open with two 18-hole rounds Friday and conclude with an 18-hole round Saturday and Sunday.
Redman will roll into Indiana with the same lineup that has consistently improved its score this spring season.
“I’m really confident — we had a great practice [Tuesday],” Redman said. “We just keep getting better, so it’s fun to watch. As long as they stay patient, they’re going to be fine.”
Junior Jackie Shepherd will be accompanied by sophomore Banchalee Theinthong and freshmen Carmen Laguna, Anna Laorr and Sarinee Thitiratanakorn. The best four scores that the team posts each round will count for the team score.
Shepherd said that as a junior and one of two golfers on the team with Big Ten experience, she tried to guide the freshmen this week in practice in terms of their expectations.
“Mostly just trying to get everybody excited about the week,” Shepherd said. “It’s definitely our privilege to be able to play at the Big Ten with the other teams and especially Nebraska being there this year.”
Minnesota was one of eight Big Ten teams in last weekend’s Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.
Shepherd said that the courses, not just the competition, would be similar this week compared to last week.
“We’ve been really focusing on our short game a lot — these greens are pretty undulating,” Shepherd said. “I think Ohio State was actually a pretty good course to play the week before this because you had to aim to the middle of the greens on that course and have a lot of long putts.”
No. 22 Ohio State and No. 25 Michigan State are the only two Big Ten teams ranked in the top-25. Minnesota finished fourth out of the eight Big Ten teams that competed in the Lady Buckeye Invitational.
Junior Erik Van Rooyen will look for a similar result in this year’s Big Ten championships to his fourth-place finish last year.
As a sophomore, Van Rooyen shot a 3-over-par 291 during the four-round event. Along with then-senior Donald Constable, he then advanced to the NCAA regionals, where he finished tied for 51st.
Jon Trasamar, David Haley Jr., Robert Bell and Tyler Lowenstein will join Van Rooyen in the Gophers’ lineup this weekend.
Carlson said his confidence is high with the group but added that he would like to see some improvement in their final rounds. Minnesota has made a bad habit of scoring higher during its final rounds.
“I just hope we play like we did at the start of the Iowa tournament and the start of the LSU tournament,” Carlson said. “We just have to finish off a tournament, and I feel like we’re due to have that happen.”
Carlson said that the fix for the team’s final-round woes could be to get the team to forget that it is the final round and make them believe that it’s “just another day.”
“The first 36-holes, our stamina — thanks to our strength and conditioning — has been really good,” Carlson said. “I feel like in the last round maybe we just get off to poor starts, and we kind of fight from behind the whole time.”
Nominate an exceptional graduating senior for the upcoming Ski-U-Mah Issue!
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
Minneapolis Used Cars
Give back to the Minnesota community with a boat donation at boat4causes.org.
If you have been involved in a car accident call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer for a free consultation.