For the first time since 2005, the Gophers women's golf team will host a tournament. It will be called the Minnesota Invitational, of course, held Sept. 16-17 at the Minikahda Club.
The course has been the site of some national and international events, namely the 1916 U.S. Open, the 1927 U.S. Amateur, the 1957 Walker Cup, the 1988 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 1998 Curtis Cup.
The 12-team field, besides the Gophers: Illinois and Nebraska of the Big Ten, Texas State, Kent State, San Diego State, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Jacksonville, Idaho and Georgia Regents.
Here is the rest of the fall schedule for the Gophers:
Northwestern’s Windy City Collegiate Classic at Northmoor Country Club in Highland Park, Ill., Sept. 30-Oct. 1
Indiana’s Hoosier Fall Invitational at Hickory Stick Golf Club in Greenwood, Ind., Oct. 19-20
UNLV’s Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown on Oct. 27-29 at the Stallion Mountain Golf Club
The Gophers finished eighth in the Big Ten meet, but should be improved.
They added two talented freshmen, Sophie Kitchen from Collingwood, Ontario, and Emie Peronnin from Frejus, France.
Kitchen won the Toronto Star Women's Amateur. Peronnin is one of the best young women players in her country.
Junior Anna Laorr, of Eden Prairie, also had a big tournament win recently. She won the Minnesota Women's Golf Association State Match Play Championship.
Coach Michele Redman also has junior Carmen Laguna of Spain back. Last spring she was the top Gopher in the Big Ten meet, tying for ninth.
Then there is Banchalee Theinthong, the only senior on the team from Bangkok, Thailand. (One of two players from Bangkiok.) Her career stroke average of 76.66 is the second best in program history. She had three top 10 finishes in tournaments last school year.
The Minnesota Invitational, with two conference schools and four California schools, should give an early indication of how improved the Gophers could be.
* The Minikahda Club was established in 1898 and derives its name from two Sioux words meaning "by the side of the water." It is near Lake Calhoun.