April 23, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In a battle for survival dictated largely by an unusual late April cold snap that included gusty winds and occasional snow showers, the Notre Dame men’s golf team fought through the adversity to claim a five-shot lead heading into the final round of the 2005 BIG EAST Conference Championship, which is being held at the par 70, 7,011-yard Warren Golf Course on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish carded a 31-over par 311 in Saturday’s opening round and will have a small edge over Georgetown (316, +36) and Rutgers (318, +38) in their quest to repeat as BIG EAST champions and garner the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
Junior Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) has been a steady presence in the Notre Dame lineup throughout the spring season and Saturday was no different, as the Irish veteran fired a five-over par 75 to take the individual lead through 18 holes. Baldwin, who was an all-BIG EAST selection in 2003, holds a one-shot edge on Georgetown’s Matt Busa, and a two-stroke advantage over Irish junior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) and Rutgers’ Mike Kosup, both of whom shot a seven-over par 77. Deutsch was an all-conference pick in 2004, as was sophomore Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS), who carded a nine-over par 79 and is tied for seventh place.
Freshman Mike King (Sidney, Ohio/Sidney HS), who is not only making his first appearance in the conference tournament, but also got his first starting nod of the spring, stands in a tie for ninth place at 10-over par 80 after the first round. Meanwhile, junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) rounds out the Irish lineup in a 21st-place tie at 14-over par 84.
Following Saturday’s first round, the BIG EAST Championship committee announced that the 54-hole tournament would be reduced to 36 holes because of the inclement weather. The final round will be contested Sunday morning at the Warren Golf Course with the first teams slated to start from the No. 1 tee beginning at 8 a.m. (EST/CDT). Gustafson will be the first to tee off for Notre Dame, starting at 8:50 a.m., with King (9 a.m.), Isban (9:10 a.m.), Deutsch (9:20 a.m.) and Baldwin (9:30 a.m.) following at 10-minute intervals from the first tee.
— ND —