Junior tri-captain Cole Isban, who was named to the PING All-Midwest Region Team for the second consecutive year, will compete for a berth in the 2006 U.S. Open at a sectional qualifier Monday in St. Charles, Ill.

Irish Slip To 20th Place After Two Rounds At NCAA Central Regional

May 20, 2005


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Following a solid start on Friday, the Notre Dame men’s golf team saw its chances of advancement in the NCAA Central Regional take a hit when the Irish tripped up on the back nine, tumbling to 20th place overall at 35-over par 595 (293-302) after two rounds of the 27-team tournament, which is being contested at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course (par 70/7,011 yards). Following Saturday’s final round, the top 10 teams and two highest individuals not on those top 10 teams will move on to the NCAA Championships June 1-4 in Owings Mills, Md.

For a time, Notre Dame was squarely in contention for one of those 10 berths, having risen as high as a tie for fourth place in the standings midway through the second round with three Irish players at par or better. However, the difficult back nine on the Warren layout proved to the undoing for the 20th-seeded Irish, who were 16-over par during the final nine holes. Nevertheless, Notre Dame did record its second-lowest 36-hole NCAA score ever (595), exceeded only by a 591 mark registered at the 1953 NCAA Championships.

Top-ranked Oklahoma State currently owns the tournament lead at five-over par 565 (282-283) and will take a three-stroke lead over Augusta State into Saturday’s third and final round. Presently, Kansas is the bubble team in the Central Regional, holding down the last qualifying spot at 23-over par 583, although there is a logjam of six teams within four strokes of the final invitation to the NCAA Championship field. The Central Regional has proven to be the toughest of the three NCAA regionals this year, with no team breaking par and only two squads (OSU and ASU) managing to stay less than 10-over par after two days of competition.

Sophomore Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) has been one of the bright spots for the Irish, carding a six-over par 146 (73-73) through two rounds to break the school’s previous 36-hole NCAA scoring record of 147 that current Notre Dame junior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) set in last year’s Central Regional at Purdue. Isban is tied for 40th in the field of 141 golfers, putting him seven shots out of potentially qualifying for the NCAA Championships as an individual. Ohio State’s Scott Anderson and Eastern Michigan’s Korey Mahoney currently hold the individual qualifying positions at one-under par 139, tying for fourth place thus far.

Deutsch is next on the Irish scoring list, winding up one stroke behind Isban at seven-over par 147 (73-74), good for a 52nd place tie overall. Meanwhile, junior Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep), who was Notre Dame’s low scorer in Thursday’s opening round, struggled on Saturday and now is at nine-over par 149 (72-77) and in a tie for 63rd place. Freshman Mike King (Sidney, Ohio/Sidney HS) started the second round well and was at even-par making the turn before ending up with a two-round total of 13-over par 153 (75-78) to hold down a share of 99th place. Junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) completed the Notre Dame lineup with a 138th-place showing at 26-over par 166 (85-81).

Notre Dame will enter Saturday’s final round looking at a 12-shot margin to make up in order to claim one of the 10 NCAA Championship slots. The Irish will tee off beginning at 11:51 a.m. (EST/CDT) on the 10th hole, with live statistics from the final round available on the Internet at www.golfstat.com and in-progress updates filed on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000). Complete final results also will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com).

— ND —