April 24, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the second consecutive year, and the fifth time overall, the Notre Dame men’s golf team has won the BIG EAST Conference Championship. The Irish were declared the tournament champions on Sunday morning after a rare April snowstorm dropped two inches of snow on northern Indiana and resulted in the cancellation of Sunday’s final round. As the BIG EAST champion, Notre Dame earns the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA regionals, slated to take place May 19-21 at three sites around the country. The Irish will be placed in the Central Regional, which will be held at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course (par 70, 7,011 yards).
The Irish wound up defending their BIG EAST title by five shots over Georgetown, rallying from as many as seven shots down at the turn to card a 31-over par 311 in Saturday’s first (and only) round that was played in gusty winds with occasional snow showers. The Hoyas finished second at 316 (+36), posting their best conference finish since winning the crown in 1998. Rutgers (318, +38) came in third for its highest result since a similar third-place showing in 2001.
“It’s certainly not the way we would have liked to win the title, but we are proud to call ourselves BIG EAST champions, all the same,” first-year Irish head coach Jim Kubinski said. “I’m very proud of the way our guys battled through the elements and found a way to pull out the victory when everything seemed to be working against them. We’ve now put ourselves in a position to be successful in postseason play, first with the regionals at our place, and then competing for a national championship in June.”
Junior Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) wound up as the tournament medalist with a five-over par 75 in Saturday’s round, becoming the fourth Notre Dame golfer ever to win the BIG EAST individual title (Bill Moore – 1995; Todd Vernon – 1997; Steve Ratay – 2001). It’s also the second medalist citation of Baldwin’s career — he took top honors in a home dual match with No. 11 TCU back on April 9 after carding a three-under par 137 that included a course and school-record 63 in the first round.
“It’s a tremendous feeling for us to win the conference title and be headed back to the NCAAs,” Baldwin said. “We have such a caring and supportive group of guys here and that’s what has made this season so great. Having played in the regionals last year, we know what to expect, so we’re looking forward to playing on our home course and taking that next step to get to the national tournament this year.”
Baldwin also was one of three Irish players to earn a spot on the all-BIG EAST team, having made the squad for the second time in his career after an initial appearance in 2003. Junior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) shot a seven-over par 77 to tie for third place, the best finish of his career, and found his way back on the all-BIG EAST team for the second consecutive year. Likewise, sophomore Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) was an all-league pick for the second year in a row after tying for seventh place at nine-over par 79.
Freshman Mike King (Sidney, Ohio/Sidney HS) turned his third top-10 finish of the season, tying for ninth place at 10-over par 80. Meanwhile, junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) ended up in a 21st-place tie at 14-over par 84.
Notre Dame now will be off until the NCAA Central Regional May 19-21 at its very own Warren Golf Course. The Irish, who will be making back-to-back NCAA appearances for the first time since a run of seven in a row from 1960-66, will learn their seeding in the 27-team regional on Monday, May 9. Then, they will seek to be one of the top 10 finishers at the Central Regional, thus earning a berth in the 30-team NCAA Championship, which will be contested June 1-4 at the Caves Valley Golf Course in Baltimore, Md.
— ND —
2005 BIG EAST Championship
April 23-24, 2005
Warren Golf Course â€¢ Notre Dame, Ind.
Par 70/7,011 yards
FINAL TEAM RESULTS (18-hole totals): 1. NOTRE DAME 311; 2. Georgetown 316; 3. Rutgers 318; 4. Boston College 327; 5. Villanova 329; 6. St. John’s 334.
TOP EIGHT INDIVIDUALS (of 30, plus Notre Dame individuals)*: 1. Mark Baldwin (Notre Dame) 75; 2. Matt Busa (Georgetown) 76; 3. (tie) Eric Deutsch (Notre Dame) and Mike Kosup (Rutgers) 77; 5. (tie) James Granello (Boston College) and Tim Moynihan (Georgetown) 78; 7. (tie) Cole Isban (Notre Dame) and Brent Pittman (Rutgers) 79; 9. (tie) Mike King (Notre Dame) 80; 21. (tie) Scott Gustafson (Notre Dame) 84.
* – the top seven players, plus ties, earn all-conference honors