May 19, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Experience proves to be an excellent teacher in college athletics. For the Notre Dame men’s golf team, it could be an important asset in earning a berth to the NCAA Championships.
Banking upon the knowledge gained in last year’s NCAA Central Regional, as well as the intimate understanding of the host course, their own Warren Golf Course, the Irish fired a 13-over par 293 in the first round of Thursday’s NCAA Central Regional, which is being played at the par-70, 7,011-yard Warren layout on the Notre Dame campus. The first round was delayed three hours during the morning due to thunderstorms in the South Bend area and that led to 12 of the 27 teams being unable to complete their round before play was suspended by darkness at 7:43 p.m. (EST/CDT). Those teams will finish their first round of competition Friday beginning at 6:45 a.m. (EST/CDT) with a shotgun start — the second round tee times for all squads remain unaffected.
The score of 293 is the lowest single-round mark ever posted by Notre Dame in NCAA competition and it far exceeds last year’s score of 310 in the opening round of the Central Regional. The 20th-seeded Irish are fifth among the 15 teams that were able to complete their rounds on Thursday, having been among the first squads to tee off in the first round. Missouri is the current leader in the clubhouse at 285 (+5), followed by Kentucky, the defending Central Regional champion, at 288 (+8) and Kansas at 289 (+9). Tulsa holds the overall tournament lead at one-over par, although the Golden Hurricane have completed just 12 holes in the first round.
Junior Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) was the first golfer to start for Notre Dame and he wound up setting a solid tone, firing a two-over par 72 to match the third-lowest 18-hole postseason score in school history. It also continued Baldwin’s run of success in NCAA play — during his last three rounds, dating back to last year’s regional, Baldwin has a 72.7 stroke average.
Meanwhile, sophomore Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) and junior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) fired matching scores of three-over par 73 to equal the fifth-best single-round NCAA score in Irish history. Freshman Mike King (Sidney, Ohio/Sidney HS), making just his second start of the spring and his postseason debut, carded a five-over par 75, while junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) ran into some early trouble and wound up finishing with a 15-over par 85.
“Honestly, my opinion is that you aren’t going to win anything (Thursday),” Notre Dame head coach Jim Kubinski said. “You are just going to play your golf, put yourself in the mix and hope to play well the next couple of days. So I think we are in good shape.”
Notre Dame is scheduled to tee off in the second round of the NCAA Central Regional beginning at 11:51 a.m. (EST/CDT) from the No. 1 tee at the Warren Golf Course. As was the case in the first round, the Irish will be paired in threesomes with players from No. 19 seed Baylor and 21st-seeded Lamar.
— ND —
NOTE: Live scoring for the NCAA Central Regional is available at www.golfstat.com and in-progress results, as well as any delays, will be provided on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000).