Senior Adam Gifford earned all-BIG EAST honors for the first time in his career, tying for fifth place at 213 (-3) in the BIG EAST Championship which concluded Tuesday.

Irish Close Strong, Finish Second At BIG EAST Championship

April 24, 2007

SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. – Notre Dame saved its best for last, firing the low round of the tournament with a 10-under par 278 on Tuesday, powering to a second-place finish at the 2007 BIG EAST Conference Championship, which took place at the Cardinal Club in Simpsonville, Ky. (located outside Louisville). The Irish posted the third-lowest single-round score in school history and fourth-lowest tournament total in program annals, finishing at eight-under par 856 (291-287-278). Tournament host Louisville, which held a 16-stroke lead entering the final round, won the team title at 844 (-20).

Notre Dame now has finished in the top three at the BIG EAST Championship 11 times in its 12-year conference affiliation. It’s also the fourth runner-up placement for the Irish, to go along with six league titles.

Notre Dame had three players named to the all-BIG EAST Conference Team, thanks to their top-10 finishes at the tournament. Senior co-captains Adam Gifford (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) and Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian) tied for fifth place with matching scores of three-under par 213. A first-time all-conference designee, Gifford shot rounds of 69, 72 and 72 and tied his best finish and 54-hole score of his career (213 in a fifth-place outing in the Triumph at Pauma Valley on March 13). He also turned in perhaps the shot of the day, holing a tough chip shot from well off the green on No. 9 for an eagle-3.

Meanwhile, Isban erased all remnants of a tough first round with scores of 76, 68 and 69 to card his third top-five finish of the year and ninth of his career. He also picked up his third all-conference plaque, joining Mark Baldwin as the only three-time all-BIG EAST selections in program history.

Sophomore Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) was chosen as an all-league honoree for the first time in his career, placing 10th at this year’s tournament with a score of one-under par 215 (73-74-68). It was Sandman’s second top-10 outing of the year and third of his career.

Junior Greg Rodgers (Phoenix, Md./St. Paul’s School) completed one of his finest showings at Notre Dame, rising up to tie for 11th place at one-over par 217 (75-73-69). The final-round 69 tied his career-low score, previously set at the 2004 Windon Memorial Classic, and his 54-hole total of 217 was one shot back of his career best (216 at the 2004 Nelson Invitational, played on a par-69 course at Stanford).

Freshman Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) capped his first trip to the BIG EAST Championship with tie for 24th place at eight-over par 224 (74-75-75). That score matches Fortner’s second-lowest mark of the year, exceeded only by a 212 (-1) in the Triumph at Pauma Valley last month.

Notre Dame now will wait to see if it is selected for an at-large berth to the 2007 NCAA Championships. The announcement of the three 27-team regional fields will take place May 7 at 6 p.m. (ET) on The regionals will be held May 17-20 at Alpharetta, Ga. (East), Sugar Grove, Ill. (Central) and Tempe, Ariz. (West), with the finals slated for May 30-June 2 at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club/Gold Course in Williamsburg, Va.

— ND —

BIG EAST Championship
April 22-24, 2007 • Simpsonville, Ky.
Cardinal Club (par 72/7,036 yards)

FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. Louisville 844 (283-279-282); 2. NOTRE DAME 856 (291-287-278); 3. St. John’s 871 (289-297-285); 4. Marquette 872 (290-294-288); 5. DePaul 879 (293-292-294); 6. (tie) Cincinnati 896 (305-307-284) and Connecticut 896 (311-297-288); 8. Georgetown 899 (302-306-291); 9. (tie) Villanova 906 (306-300-300) and Seton Hall 906 (304-299-303); 11. South Florida 921 (296-314-311); 12. Rutgers 928 (313-316-299).

TOP SEVEN INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 60): 1. Daryl Fathauer (Louisville) 209 (71-68-70); 2. Mike Van Sickle (Marquette) 211 (66-76-69); 3. (tie) Derek Fathauer (Louisville) 212 (73-70-69) and Adam Rainaud (Louisville) 212 (67-74-71); 5. (tie) Adam Gifford (Notre Dame) 213 (69-72-72), Cole Isban (Notre Dame) 213 (76-68-69) and Adam Hadwin (Louisville) 213 (72-69-72); 10. Josh Sandman (Notre Dame) 215 (73-74-68); 11. (tie) Greg Rodgers (Notre Dame) 217 (75-73-69); 24. (tie) Doug Fortner (Notre Dame) 224 (74-75-75).
NOTE: Top 10 individuals earn all-BIG EAST honors.