April 22, 2008
HEBRON, Ky. — The Notre Dame men’s golf team wrapped up its 2007-08 season with a fourth-place finish at the BIG EAST Championship on Tuesday at the Traditions Golf Club (par 72/7,103 yards) in Hebron, Ky. The Irish carded a three-round total of 25-over par 889 (296-295-298), marking the fifth-lowest BIG EAST score in school history. Notre Dame also fielded two all-conference selections, the sixth time in the past seven years the Irish have had multiple all-BIG EAST honorees.
Marquette won its first BIG EAST title in thrilling fashion, shooting a 10-over par 874 (291-288-295) to edge hard-charging runner-up Louisville (876, +12) by two strokes.
Sophomore Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) earned his first career all-conference citation after finishing tied for fourth place at three-over par 219 (73-75-71). Fortner birdied the ninth hole on Tuesday afternoon and made that stand up the rest of the way. Marquette’s Ted Gray led wire-to-wire in capturing medalist honors at 211 (-5), three strokes better than Keegan Bradley of St. John’s. The top 10 finishers (plus ties) at the BIG EAST Championship receive all-conference honors.
Junior Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) stumbled a bit in his final round, but still earned his second consecutive all-BIG EAST certificate (and fifth consecutive top-10 finish) after tying for seventh place at four-over par 220 (71-72-77). Sandman, who is the first Irish golfer since at least 1980 to record five top-10 finishes in a row (further research pending), birdied his second hole on Tuesday, but followed with a triple bogey at No. 3, and after a birdie on the fourth, he took a double bogey at No. 6 and a bogey at No. 8 that left him battling back the remainder of the day.
Despite his problems on Tuesday, Sandman turned in a scintillating stretch run for the Irish, posting five consecutive top-10 finishes (and eight top-20 finishes out of 11 events) and winding up with a 73.10 stroke average for the year (72.41 in the spring season). He could be in line for an individual berth to the NCAA regionals, with the top 18 golfers (six per regional) not on a team qualifier getting chosen for an NCAA individual bid. The complete NCAA field (team and individual) will be announced by the Division I Men’s Golf Committee on May 5.
Freshman Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) showed good improvement throughout his first BIG EAST Championship, peaking with a final-round 72 that left him tied for 18th place at eight-over par 224 (77-75-72). Zhang should be one of the future standouts for the Irish, having carded a 74.64 stroke average during the spring season.
Two of Notre Dame senior tri-captains — Eddie Peckels (Pinehurst, N.C./Pope John Paul II (Fla.)) and Greg Rodgers (Phoenix, Md./St. Paul’s School) — saw their college careers come to an end on Tuesday. Rodgers finished in a tie for 44th place at 18-over par 234 (75-81-78), while Peckels wound up in 49th place at 19-over par 235 (80-73-82) in his first trip to the BIG EAST Championship.
Rodgers finished his career with a 76.36 stroke average in 31 tournaments (87 rounds), with his best finish being a tie for fourth place at last fall’s Gopher Invitational. Meanwhile, Peckels ended his tenure under the Golden Dome with a 75.78 stroke average in 22 career tournaments (63 rounds) and earned medalist honors at the Irish Invitational earlier this month.
— ND —
BIG EAST Championship
April 20-22, 2008 â€¢ Hebron, Ky.
Traditions Golf Club (par 72/7,103 yards)
FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. Marquette 874 (291-288-295); 2. Louisville 876 (296-294-286); 3. Seton Hall 887 (294-297-296); 4. NOTRE DAME 889 (296-295-298); 5. St. John’s 893 (300-300-293); 6. South Florida 903 (304-298-301); 7. DePaul 905 (302-300-303); 8. Georgetown 908 (302-308-298); 9. Cincinnati 909 (301-302-306); 10. Connecticut 913 (301-303-309); 11. Villanova 920 (305-298-317); 12. Rutgers 938 (307-309-322).
TOP 12 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 60)*: 1. Ted Gray (MU) 211 (68-68-75); 2. Keegan Bradley (STJ) 216 (71-72-73); 3. Adam Rainaud (UL) 217 (74-75-68); 4. (tie) Doug Fortner (ND) 219 (73-75-71), Mike Van Sickle (MU) 219 (72-74-73) and Kyle Morris (SHU) 219 (73-73-73); 7. (tie) Josh Sandman (ND) 220 (71-72-77), Mike Bielawski (MU) 220 (72-73-75), Adam Hadwin (UL) 220 (74-76-70), Derek Fathauer (UL) 220 (76-70-74), Tyler Hitchcock (USF) 220 (76-73-71) and Tim Hager (GU) 220 (72-77-71); 18. (tie) Dustin Zhang (ND) 224 (77-75-72); 44. (tie) Greg Rodgers (ND) 234 (75-81-78); 49. Eddie Peckels (ND) 235 (80-73-82).
* = top 10 golfers (plus ties) earn all-BIG EAST honors