Oct. 17, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Fresh off its first tournament championship in four years, the Notre Dame men’s golf team returns to competition Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 20-21 for The Tillinghast, hosted by St. John’s University. The tournament is a 36-hole event contested at the par-70, 6,562-yard Fenway Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., with 14 teams entered in this year’s field, including BIG EAST Conference foes St. John’s, Boston College, Rutgers and Seton Hall.
The Irish are coming off a narrow one-shot win at the SMU/Stonebridge Invitational on Oct. 13-14 in McKinney, Texas. Notre Dame led by four shots entering the final round and held on to claim its first title since it won by two strokes at the Louisville Intercollegiate on Oct. 19, 1999. The victory at SMU had added meaning for the Irish, who had to get past two squads that are ranked in the top 50 of the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index ratings (No. 30 Vanderbilt and No. 39 Southeastern Louisiana).
Sophomore Scott Gustafson (Rochester, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) will anchor the Notre Dame lineup at The Tillinghast after a magnificent third-place finish last week in Texas. Gustafson carded a career-low score of six-under par 210, just one stroke off the school record while matching the Irish standard for the lowest score in relation to par. Gustafson now has finished in the Top 11 in three of his last four tournaments, dating back to last season, and his stroke average this fall is down to a team-best 73.22 through three events.
Fellow sophomore Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews HS) also is making the trip to New York this weekend following his fourth-place outing at the SMU/Stonebridge Invitational. For the second consecutive year, Balderston thrived at the Stonebridge Country Club, posting a career-low 68 in the opening round on the way to a 54-hole total of two-under par 214. Balderston ranks third on the team this season with a 75.69 stroke average.
Rounding out the Irish lineup at The Tillinghast are freshmen Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) and Shane Sigsbee (McKinney, Texas/McKinney HS), along with sophomore Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS). Isban tied for 27th place last weekend in Texas, firing a career-low 72 in the second round and winding up with a score of nine-over par 225. He is second on the team with a 75.50 stroke average thus far in 2003-04. Meanwhile, Sigsbee logged a score of 236 at the SMU tourney to tie for 69th place, while Deutsch was one shot behind Sigsbee at 237, good for 71st position.
The Tillinghast will begin Monday at 9 a.m. (EDT), with Tuesday’s tee times slated for 8:30 a.m. (EDT). Results from each round of the tournament will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com) and will be updated on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000).
– ND –