April 19, 2009
DADE CITY, Fla. — Behind a one-under par 71 from freshman Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.)), the Notre Dame men’s golf team is tied for fifth place after Sunday’s first round of the BIG EAST Conference Championship, which is being held on the South Course (par 72/7,031 yards) at the Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City, Fla. The Irish opened at 295 (+7) and even with tournament host South Florida, 13 strokes behind overnight leader Louisville in a tightly-compressed 12-team field — in fact, only 12 shots currently separate third-place squads Marquette and St. John’s from 10th-place Cincinnati.
Although he had never played Lake Jovita’s South Course prior to Saturday’s practice round, Scodro looked as though he’d spent his entire career on the scoring-friendly layout, picking up eagles on two of the course’s longest holes — No. 2 (549 yards) and No. 11 (559 yards). He also closed his round in superb fashion with back-to-back birdies, capping a back nine that saw him come home in three-under par 33. Scodro’s opening-round 71 is his best 18-hole score since he closed with that same mark in the fall finale on Oct. 28 at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship in Greensboro, N.C., locking up a share of his first individual tournament title in the process.
Seton Hall teammates Dave Sampson and John Zur are tied for the individual lead at three-under par 69, while Louisville teammates Riley Wheeldon and Adam Hadwin are one shot back. Scodro is among a group of six golfers two strokes off the pace in the 60-man field.
Junior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill), who earned all-BIG EAST honors at last year’s conference tournament, is tied for 14th place after firing a one-over par 73 in Sunday’s first round. Reversing Scodro’s methods, Fortner bolted from the gate, making the turn at two-under 34 and getting to minus-3 for the round with his fourth birdie of the day on No. 11. However, a rough four-hole stretch in the middle of the second nine (two bogeys and a double bogey on No. 15) temporarily dampened his momentum, yet still left him firmly in contention just four shots back.
Making his BIG EAST Championship debut, sophomore Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif./Los Altos) battled through some early nerves with some veteran play down the stretch, moving into a tie for 23rd place at two-over par 74. Chen’s round got off to an inauspicious start with four consecutive bogeys, but as he has done all year, Chen showed solid improvement during the course of Sunday’s round, playing the final 14 holes in two-under par (four birdies, two bogeys), including a solid 35 (-1) on the back nine.
Sophomore Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) is tied for 37th place following a first-round 77 (+5), while classmate Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) shares 55th place at 11-over par 83. Zhang actually made the turn at one-over par 37, but gave back four shots coming in.
Notre Dame will look to capitalize on “moving day” at the BIG EAST Championship when it gets back to action for Monday’s second round, with Alan-Lee leading off at 9:40 a.m. (ET) from the first tee and his teammates 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 Monday’s scores are official.
— ND —
BIG EAST Championship
April 19, 2009
Lake Jovita Gold & Country Club/South Course (Dade City, Fla.)
Par 72/7,031 yards
18-HOLE TEAM RESULTS: 1. Louisville 282; 2. Seton Hall 285; 3. (tie) Marquette and St. John’s 292; 5. (tie) NOTRE DAME 295 and South Florida 295; 7. DePaul 297; 8. Rutgers 301; 9. Georgetown 302; 10. Cincinnati 304; 11. Villanova 312; 12. Connecticut 324.
TOP 4 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 60): 1. (tie) Dave Sampson (SHU) and John Zur (SHU) 69; 3. (tie) Riley Wheeldon (LOU) and Adam Hadwin (LOU) 70; 5. (tie) Max Scodro (ND) 71; 14. (tie) Doug Fortner (ND) 73; 23. (tie) Jeff Chen (ND) 74; 37. (tie) Dustin Zhang (ND) 77; 55. (tie) Connor Alan-Lee (ND) 83.