Oct. 21, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For only the second time in the past five weeks, the Notre Dame men’s golf team will take to the links when it heads to Stanford, Calif., for The Nelson Invitational Friday through Sunday, Oct. 22-24. It will mark the fourth of five fall tournaments for the Irish, who have not competed in a team event since Oct. 4-5, when they placed 14th at the Windon Memorial Classic in suburban Chicago. In the interim, several Notre Dame golfers have played on an individual basis at a pair of tournaments in the Midwest. This weekend’s tournament will be held at the par-69, 6,444-yard Stanford Golf Course.
The Teams: The 2004 Nelson Invitational features a talented 16-team field with squads from all corners of the country. In addition to the host school, Stanford, the other teams competing in this weekend’s tournament are: Colorado, Colorado State, Florida Southern, Georgia State, Idaho, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, New Mexico, Northern Colorado, Texas-Pan American, UC Davis, UNLV and West Florida. Three of those squads currently are ranked in the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA)/Precept Coaches Poll — No. 5 New Mexico, No. 14 UNLV and No. 18 Georgia State, while Kansas State is receiving six votes (good for a 46th-place tie) this week. At the same time, five participating teams are appearing in the top 50 of the current Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index rankings — No. 2 New Mexico, No. 15 UNLV, No. 17 Georgia State, No. 33 Colorado and No. 49 Notre Dame. Nine teams also advanced to NCAA regional play last year, with Georgia State (11th) and New Mexico (19th) both competing in the 2004 NCAA Championship final.
Dates and Times: Teams will play one round (18 holes) per day during the 54-hole event. Teams will use preset tee times each day, beginning at 8 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EST/CDT in South Bend). On the final two days of competition, teams will start based on their placement in the overall tournament standings.
Last Time Out: Notre Dame carded a three-round total of 54-over par 906 at the Windon Memorial Classic, matching the score posted by UC Davis and putting Notre Dame in a tie for 14th place, 41 strokes behind tournament host and champion Northwestern. The two-day event was contested in Lake Forest, Ill., at the par-71, 6,849-yard Conway Farms Golf Club.
The Irish were paced by freshman Greg Rodgers (Phoenix, Md./St. Paul’s), who registered the best outing of his brief collegiate career with a 19th-place tie at seven-over par 220 (74-69-77). His second-round 69 also was his best mark of the year to date. Meanwhile, sophomore Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian) tied for 44th place in the 90-player field at 13-over par 226 (76-71-79). Isban now has carded scores of 226 or lower in all three of his tournament appearances this fall.
Junior Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews) came in tied for 74th place at 20-over par 233 (77-78-78), one stroke ahead of classmate Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes), who wound up in a 77th-place deadlock at 21-over par 234 (80-77-77). Junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) made his first appearance after missing almost three weeks due to injury and as each round progressed, he seemed to regain his stroke, culminating in the final round with a one-over par 72. He finished in a tie for 82nd place at 23-over par 236 (86-78-72).
Irish At The Nelson Invitational: This year marks Notre Dame’s third consecutive trip to The Nelson Invitational. In 2002, the Irish finished in 12th place after posting a score of 877 (+25), paced by Mark Baldwin’s tie for 11th place at two-under par 211. Last year, Notre Dame set a new 54-hole school scoring record at 863 (+11), including matching scores of 287 in the first two rounds (tying for 13th in school history) to once again place 12th at The Nelson. Cole Isban led the Irish with a one-under par 212, which put him in an 18th-place tie overall.
Tournament Results: Results will be available at www.und.com upon completion of each round on all three days of the tournament. In addition, updated results will be provided on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000, option #9).
Up Next For The Irish: Notre Dame will return to the West Coast on Nov. 1-2 to compete in The Prestige at PGA West, a tournament co-hosted by Stanford and UC Davis at the famed PGA West course in Palm Springs, Calif. It will be the final tournament of the fall season for the Irish.
— ND —