June 1, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior golfer Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian) has been named to the 15-member PING All-Midwest Region Team for the second consecutive season, it was announced this week by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Isban is just the second Notre Dame golfer ever to receive either regional or national honors for his on-course achievements twice in his career — Tom Grace was a two-time third-team All-America selection in 1961 and 1962. In addition, Isban now is eligible for PING All-America honors, looking to become the first Irish golfer to earn any sort of All-America nod since 1980 (John Lundgren – honorable mention) and the first to make one of the top three All-America squads since 1964 (Mike O’Connell, Sr. – second team; Pat Danahy – third team).
Isban recently completed one of the finest seasons in the 77-year history of the Notre Dame men’s golf program, setting a school record with a 72.97 stroke average to best Steve Ratay’s old mark of 73.03 in 2001-02. The Irish tri-captain also finished among the top 10 in four tournaments, including top-five finishes at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate (tie-first; lost in playoff) and the Boilermaker Invitational (tie-second). What’s more, he was second on the squad with 16 rounds of par or lower, including a team-best 12 rounds under par and seven rounds in the 60s. For the season, 31 of his 33 rounds counted to the team score, good for a team-leading .939 efficiency ratio.
During his three-year career, Isban is a two-time all-BIG EAST selection and narrowly missed his third consecutive all-conference citation with a tie for eighth place this year (the top seven finishers at the BIG EAST Championship earn the distinction). Nevertheless, he has been a key contributor to Notre Dame’s run of three consecutive BIG EAST titles and three straight trips to the NCAA regionals, including a berth in the NCAA East Regional in 2006. Besides owning the single-season stroke average record at Notre Dame, Isban also lays claim to the school’s career stroke average mark at 74.10, one-third of a stroke ahead of his next closest pursuer (74.43 by Charles Thurn from 1956-58).
Adding to his achievements with the Irish, Isban has found success in the amateur ranks during the summer months as well. He is a two-time qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Championships (2004, 2005), and less than three weeks ago, he won medalist honors in a local qualifier (held at South Bend Country Club) for the 2006 U.S. Open, lifting him into a 33-man sectional qualifier next Monday (June 5) at the St. Charles (Ill.) Country Club. The top two finishers in that sectional will receive berths in the U.S. Open, to be played June 15-18 at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
In an added twist, Isban is one of three golfers with Notre Dame ties who will be competing in U.S. Open sectional qualifiers next week. Incoming freshman Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) and former Irish standout Todd Vernon (1996-2000) both will attempt to qualify on Monday in the 67-man sectional at the Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif., with the top four finishers in that sectional moving on to the U.S. Open.
— ND —