April 20, 2009
DADE CITY, Fla. — Led by a talented rookie (Max Scodro) and a grizzled veteran (Doug Fortner), the Notre Dame men’s golf team carded a four-over par 292 during Monday’s second round at the BIG EAST Conference Championship, keeping the Irish in fifth place after 36 holes on the South Course (par 72/7,031 yards) at the Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City, Fla.
Notre Dame has a two-round score of 11-over par 587 (295-292), putting the Irish 19 strokes back of tournament leader Louisville (568), and well within striking distance of the other top-five squads — Marquette (579), Seton Hall (583) and St. John’s (585) — in the 12-team field entering Tuesday’s final round. The Irish have finished in the top three at the BIG EAST tournament 11 times in their first 13 years of competition, with six titles and four runner-up placements to their credit.
For the second consecutive day, Scodro (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.)) registered his best round of the spring, firing a two-under par 70 and closing within one shot of the lead at three-under par 141 (71-70) for the tournament. Scodro’s 141 also ties the program record for the lowest score after 36 holes in BIG EAST Championship play, a mark previously set by three other golfers (Todd Vernon in 1997; Josh Sandman in 2006; and Adam Gifford in 2007).
Louisville’s Adam Hadwin and Marquette’s Mike Van Sickle share the overnight individual lead at 140 (-4), while Seton Hall’s John Zur is tied with Scodro for third place and Louisville’s Karsten Clements rounds out the top five.
Scodro’s second-round 70 also was the second-lowest score of his freshman season, topped only by a 67 he posted in the second round of his first collegiate event, the John Dallio Memorial, in which he played as an individual participant back on Sept. 21. The Irish rookie is seeking his fourth top-10 finish of the season (second as a member of the travel squad), and also is in prime position to earn all-BIG EAST honors, which go to the top 10 individual finishers (plus ties) in this year’s tournament. This marks the eighth consecutive year a Notre Dame freshman has competed at the BIG EAST Championship, with Irish rookies claiming all-BIG EAST citations in three of the previous seven tourneys.
Scodro isn’t the only Notre Dame golfer in the hunt for all-conference status, as Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) aims for his second plaque in as many years. The Irish junior battled his way into the top 10 on Monday, moving up to eighth place at even-par 144 (73-71) on the strength of his team-leading fifth round below par this season. He also now shares top honors in the 60-man field with 10 birdies through two rounds, highlighted by four chirps in a six-hole stretch to open Monday’s back nine. Fortner has finished in the top 10 twice this year and has five career top-10 finishes on his resume, including a tie for fourth place at the 2008 BIG EAST Championship.
Should Scodro and Fortner hold their ground on Tuesday, it would give Notre Dame multiple all-conference honorees for the seventh time in the past eight years and the eighth time since the BIG EAST began naming an all-league squad in 1999. Fortner also would be the eighth two-time all-BIG EAST honoree in program history, a group that includes his current teammate Sandman, who is sitting out this season while recovering from back surgery (but intends to apply for a fifth year of eligibility in 2009-10).
Sophomore Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif./Los Altos) backtracked a bit on Monday, tumbling to a tie for 33rd place at seven-over par 151 (74-77). Classmate Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) also shot a 77 in the second round and is tie for 41st place at 10-over par 154 (77-77). Meanwhile, the third Irish sophomore in this week’s lineup, Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) bounced back nicely on Monday and rose to a tie for 51st place at 13-over par 157 (83-74). Alan-Lee also turned in the shot of the day for Notre Dame, carding an eagle on the par-4 fifth hole after his 150-yard approach shot found nothing but the bottom of the cup. It was the third eagle posted by an Irish golfer in the past two days, after Scodro picked up a pair in Sunday’s opening round.
Alan-Lee once again will lead off for Notre Dame, as Tuesday’s final round gets underway at 8 a.m. (ET) from the first tee, with the rest of the Irish lineup following in reverse order of their scores at 10-minute intervals. Live scoring for the tournament is available through the Golfstat web site (www.golfstat.com). Complete results also will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com) and the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) as soon as possible once Tuesday’s scores are official.
— ND —
BIG EAST Championship
April 19-20, 2009
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club/South Course (Dade City, Fla.)
Par 72/7,031 yards
36-HOLE TEAM RESULTS: 1. Louisville 568 (282-286); 2. Marquette 579 (292-287); 3. Seton Hall 583 (285-298); 4. St. John’s 585 (292-293); 5. NOTRE DAME 587 (295-292); 6. South Florida 589 (295-294); 7. Georgetown 593 (302-291); 8. Rutgers 597 (301-296); 9. DePaul 598 (297-301); 10. Cincinnati 604 (304-300); 11. Villanova 608 (312-296); 12. Connecticut 616 (324-292).
TOP 4 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 60): 1. (tie) Adam Hadwin (LOU) 140 (70-70) and Mike Van Sickle (MU) 140 (73-67); 3. (tie) Max Scodro (ND) 141 (71-70) and John Zur (SHU) 141 (69-72); 8. Doug Fortner (ND) 144 (73-71); 33. (tie) Jeff Chen (ND) 151 (74-77); 41. (tie) Dustin Zhang (ND) 154 (77-77); 51. (tie) Connor Alan-Lee (ND) 157 (83-74).