The University of Minnesota mens golf team earned their first back-to-back Big Ten Championships in school history, winning the 2003 tournament on Sunday with a final round of 7-under-par 277 for a 72-hole total of 1122 (-14).
The Golden Gophers overcame a six-stroke deficit heading into the final day to win the event by six, with Illinois finishing at 8-under 1128. Ohio State took third with a score of 1153 (+17). This is the sixth conference title for Minnesota, with other victories in 2002, 1972, 63, 38 and 29. The Championships were held at the par 71, 6,942-yard Indiana University Golf Course in Bloomington, Ind.
One of our goals heading into this season was to defend our Big Ten title. Our second and main goal is to defend our national title, Head Coach Brad James said. The team, being in that same situation last year, knew what it would feel like to perform down the stretch. They had to overcome a hump on the 12th hole, and they did that making a couple of key birdies. The teams performance today was amazing.
Senior Matt Anderson (Edina, Minn./Edina) won the individual Big Ten title, marking the first Golden Gopher to earn medalist honors since John Harris in 1974. Anderson fired his second round of 4-under 67 for the tournament to place first with a total of 276 (-8). His four-round score ties the second lowest 72-hole total in Minnesota history. The Golden Gophers have not taken both the team and individual crowns since 1972.
The individual win was not exactly what I was aiming for today. All I wanted to do was play solid to give us a chance, Anderson said. I putted well today and hung in there. I scored really well and Im happy with winning both titles.
Overall, Minnesota had three golfers finish in the top-five. Senior Simon Nash (Pullanvale, Australia/St. Josephs) fired his third round in the 60s for the event with a 67 to tie for second place with a score of 7-under 277. The placement marked Nashs third top-10 finish is Big Ten Championship play. Junior Justin Smith (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area) shot a final round of 70 (-1) to place fifth with a total of 5-under 279. Anderson, Smith and Nash were honored with both All-Big Ten and All-Tournament team selections.
Junior David Morgan (Rochester, Minn./Robert L. Stevenson) carded a 76 (+5) to tie for 21st place with a score of 293 (+9). Senior Wilhelm Schauman (Djursholm, Sweden/Victor Rydberg) shot a 73 (+2) during the fourth round to total 297 (+13) and tie for 32nd place.
Head Coach Brad James was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. James was unable to be in Bloomington for the tournament because his wife, Tanya, gave birth to the couples first child early Sunday morning. James, an Australia-native, named their healthy 8 lb. 4 oz. daughter Sydney.
The Golden Gophers will next compete May 15-17 at the NCAA Central Regional in Manhattan, Kan.
Final Team Scores
Big Ten Championships
Indiana University Golf Course
Par 71, 6,942 yards
1. Minnesota283-282-280-277'1122 (-14)
2. Illinois282-281-276-289'1128 (-8)
3. Ohio State282-288-288-295'1153 (+17)
4. Northwestern286-296-288-288'1158 (+22)
5. Purdue294-284-289-292'1159 (+23)
6. Indiana285-298-287-294'1164 (+28)
7. Michigan State286-290-293-299'1168 (+32)
8. Michigan300-285-297-295'1177 (+41)
9. Iowa293-290-308-289'1180 (+44)
10. Penn State295-297-298-303'1193 (+57)
11. Wisconsin298-301-300-301'1200 (+64)