Aug. 2, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The moment the final putt dropped at the 2004 NCAA Central Regional, the Notre Dame men’s golf team set its sights on not only returning to the national stage and defending its BIG EAST Conference title, but taking it one step further and moving into contention for an NCAA crown. Despite scattering to various corners of the country for the summer, several Irish golfers have kept their game in top form and gained valuable high-caliber experience for the upcoming 2004-05 college golf season. Two of Notre Dame’s more noteworthy performers this summer have been rising junior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) and sophomore-to-be Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS). Back in his home state, Deutsch won both the Minnesota State Amateur Championship and the Twin Cities Amateur Championship, leading all the way in both tournaments. Ironically, his nearest competitor in each victory was another Irish golfer — rising junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) lost to Deutsch by two shots at the Minnesota State Amateur and was four strokes back in the Twin Cities tourney. Meanwhile, Isban will represent Notre Dame at the U.S. Amateur Championship, which will be contested Aug. 16-22 in Mamaroneck, N.Y., at the famous Winged Foot Golf Club. Isban finished third in the U.S. Amateur sectional qualifier that was held at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course on July 21, carding a one-under par 141 for the 36-hole event. In addition, Isban has participated in three of the top amateur tournaments in the country this summer, tying for eighth place at the Western Junior Championship in Denver, reaching the third round of match play at the North and South Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C., and making the 36-hole cut at the Western Amateur in nearby Benton Harbor, Mich., becoming the first South Bend-area golfer in three years to advance past the first cut. “This summer has been very promising for our players,” fourth-year Notre Dame head coach John Jasinski said. “As a group, this team has been far more competitive this summer, in terms of the number and type of tournaments, than any of our previous teams. The results have also been better and that has helped our confidence to grow dramatically. Our players believe they are capable of competing at the highest levels in the country and that will be an important asset for us next season.” Here’s an individual recap of how each of Notre Dame’s golfers has performed to date this summer: Tommy Balderston (Jr., Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews HS) — lost in match play finals of Connecticut State Amateur Championship at Fairfield, Conn., falling to Steve Velardi 4 and 2 … qualified for match play at North and South Amateur Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., but dropped his first-round match to Greg Pieczynski, 1-up. Mark Baldwin (Jr., Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) — qualified for match play at 101st New Hampshire State Amateur Championship with tie for 17th place in stroke play (75-72=147, +3) on his home course at Laconia Country Club; reached quarterfinals of match play before losing to eventual champion Derek MacAllister, 1-up … tied for 49th place at 69th New Hampshire State Open Championship, carding seven-over par 151 (72-79) … currently 11th in Tri-State team standings with 115 points. Eric Deutsch (Jr., Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) — Won Minnesota State Amateur Championship in wire-to-wire performance with 54-hole total of six-under par 207 (67-70-70) … won Twin Cities Amateur Championship in another wire-to-wire showing, firing 36-hole score of 142 (71-71). Adam Gifford (So., Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth HS) — has three top-10 finishes this summer on Fidra Midwest Collegiate Amateur Series … tied for seventh in tourney at Purdue’s Kampen Course with 13-over par 155 (76-79) … tied for seventh in tourney at Prestwick Country Club in Avon, Ind., shooting five-over par 149 (75-74) … turned in best outing of summer with second-place finish in tourney at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course, carding two-over par 144 (74-70). Scott Gustafson (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) — finished second to Deutsch at Minnesota State Amateur Championship with three-round score of four-under par 209 (68-73-68) … also was runner-up to Deutsch at Twin Cities Amateur Championship with two-round total of 146 (74-72) … tied for 17th place at Eastern Amateur Championship in Portsmouth, Va., registering four-day score of one-under par 279 (68-73-67-71). Cole Isban (So., South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) — qualified for U.S. Amateur Championship by placing third at Notre Dame sectional, shooting one-under par 141 … qualified for match play at North and South Amateur Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., advancing to third round before losing to Jared Texter, 2-up … tied for eighth at Western Junior Championship in Denver, shooting two-over par 286 (73-72-68-73) during four-day event … made 36-hole cut at 102nd Western Amateur Championship in Benton Harbor, Mich., but did not advance to match play, carding 72-hole score of 12-over par 292 (72-71-75-74). Mike King (Fr., Sidney, Ohio/Sidney HS) — incoming Irish freshman qualified for U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship by finishing second at sectional in Springfield, Ohio, posting a two-round score of even-par 144 … missed 36-hole cut at U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, shooting 13-over par 157 (74-83). Daniel Klauer (Jr., Granger, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) — tied for 34th place at 98th Southern Amateur Championship in Ooltewah, Tenn., compiling nine-over par 297 (75-71-77-74) in 72-hole tourney. Eddie Peckels (Fr., Delray Beach, Fla./Pope John Paul II HS) — incoming Irish freshman narrowly missed qualifying for match play at North and South Amateur Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., finishing one stroke out of playoff at five-over par 149 (75-74) … tied for 43rd place at Florida State Amateur Championship in Naples, Fla., carding four-round score of 11-over par 299 (71-74-78-76). Greg Rodgers (Fr., Phoenix, Md./St. Paul’s HS) — incoming Irish freshman qualified for match play at Maryland State Amateur Championship in Towson, Md., losing in quarterfinals on 19th hole to eventual champion Billy Wingerd … qualified for match play at North and South Amateur Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., reaching second round before bowing to Benjamin Spitz, 3 and 2. K.C. Wiseman (Sr., South Bend, Ind./Riley HS) — just missed defending his title at South Bend Men’s Metro Championship, winding up three shots back in third place with four-day score of 283. Notre Dame has eight monogram winners returning this season, including all five golfers who competed at the 2004 NCAA Central Regional. The Irish, who will open their season in September (the official schedule is awaiting approval and will be released at a later date), are scheduled to play host to both the 2005 BIG EAST Conference Championship and ’05 NCAA Central Regional at Warren Golf Course.
— ND —