U senior golfers ignore distractions

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 5, 2011 - 1:13 AM

A court case involving a former U coach hasn't stopped this foursome from bonding and supporting each other.

hide

Four seniors on the U women’s golf team — (from left) Teresa Puga, Samantha Sommers, Michele Edlin and Mary Narzisi — led the team into the Central Regional.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Not long from now, they will all head in different directions.

Teresa Puga has a little school left to finish before deciding on a career path. Mary Narzisi will work this summer at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, then she wants to give the LPGA Futures Tour a try. Michele Edlin is thinking of becoming a teaching pro. Samantha Sommers is going home to St. Cloud to be a literacy reading teacher at an elementary school.

That's what makes this week so poignant.

The foursome, all seniors on the University of Minnesota women's golf team, have been together for their college careers. They have practiced together, worked together, grown together. To think that it is almost over is difficult.

"We are really close as a team," Sommers said. "I think that makes the competition fun. We compete against each other, but we're also there to support each other, too. We have become very, very close."

This week, the Gophers -- ranked 41st in the country by Golf Week Magazine -- will be one of 24 teams taking part in the NCAA Central Regional at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course.

The Gophers women's team hasn't qualified for the postseason since 2001. The Gophers' sixth-place finish in the Big Ten tournament is also the best by the team in a decade. Eight teams will qualify for the championship finals, and the Gophers' goal is to be among that top eight.

That would keep them together a little longer.

"When we came in, [the Gophers] were 123rd in the nation," Narzisi said. Four years later, she still recalls that number. "We do remember, because it was a pretty terrible number. I think we're all proud of the hard work."

The four seniors, who form the backbone of the team, have had the unique opportunity to play together, and play a lot, from the beginning. A lot of that was because of the state of the Gophers program when they entered it, of course.

And so, not surprisingly, their names will end up all over the program's record books. Puga's career scoring average of 75.62, amassed over 122 rounds of competitive golf, is the best in program history. Narzisi's 78.12 average is third, Sommers (78.23) is fifth and Edlin (78.88) is 10th.

All four are proud of where the program is now, and they are convinced it is headed in the right direction.

Perhaps more impressive is that the Gophers have been able to shut out courtroom-sized distractions on the way to the NCAA regional. Former associate women's coach Kathryn Brenny has sued the University of Minnesota, alleging that athletic department officials took away her coaching duties after John Harris, the director of golf, learned she was a lesbian.

With litigation pending, none of the players can comment directly on the case. But they did talk about their ability to keep focused on golf with distractions surrounding the program.

"It wasn't easy," Sommers said. "But we turned to each other a lot. We talked with each other. We told ourselves from the beginning that the only way we were going to get anything done was to play for yourselves, for the team. Don't let anything bother the team."

Said Puga: "There are always things you can control, and things you cannot control. All we could do was stick together, push each other, just keep going and try our best, control our own games."

Those games have been remarkably consistent. Puga tied for first at the Central Florida Challenge and has six top-20 finishes in 10 spring tournaments. Narzisi finished tied for 14th at the Big Ten Championships, where Puga finished tied for 21st, Sommers tied for 23rd and Edlin tied for 32nd.

It will take a strong effort for the Gophers to advance past the regional. But regardless of the outcome, all four seniors said they will leave with good memories.

Puga, who is from Spain, has pretty much been adopted by the Edlins, who live in Jackson in southwest Minnesota. Edlin remembers meeting Puga shortly after her arrival, when Puga spoke very little English, and being sure she wouldn't last. "But she's a fighter," Edlin said. "She's a fighter. She learned English, and fast. I like to say I helped her."

They have all helped each other, at times through difficult times.

"The whole issue brought us closer together," Edlin said of the legal matter. "We came together as a team. We have each others' backs, no matter what. That's one thing you learn from hard times, and that's what we did to keep focused."

  • related content

  • NCAA Central Regional golf info

    Tuesday May 3, 2011

    What: The Gophers women are among 24 teams taking part in the NCAA Central Regional. Eight teams advance from each regional to the national championship. The Gophers are the regional's...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas 4 Top 4th Inning
Oakland 2
Boston - B. Workman 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Washington - G. Gonzalez 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Hand
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Arizona - V. Nuno 7:40 PM
Colorado - Y. Flande
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 8:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close