April 10, 2003
Columbus, Ohio – The Notre Dame men’s golf team returns to action for the third consecutive weekend when they play in the 34th annual Kepler Invitational at Ohio State on Sat.-Sun., April 12-13. The tournament started in 1969 and is named after former OSU golf coach, the late Robert Kepler, who coached the Buckeyes from 1938-65. The tournament will be played at the par 72, 7,250-yard Ohio State University Scarlet Course. Since its inception, the tournament has been won by just six schools – Ohio State, Indiana, Kent State, Miami (OH) and Nevada-Las Vegas. The Buckeyes have won the tournament 22 times. Last year’s rain-shortened tournament was won by Nevada-Las Vegas (288-288-576), while Purdue’s Lee Williamson took medalist honors with a 139 (71-68). The Irish have played in the Kepler Invitational 22 times with their best finish coming in 1977-78 when they finished fourth. Rich Knee has the best individual finish as the tied for seventh in that tournament with a 228. The last time Notre Dame played in the Kepler Invitational was in the spring of 2001 when the Irish tied for eighth in a 17-team field.
The Teams: A total of 17 teams will play in the Kepler Invitational. Along with the host school, Ohio State, the other teams participating include: Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kent State, Kentucky, Marshall, Miami (OH), Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio University, Purdue, Toledo and Wisconsin.
Dates and Times: The 54-hole Kepler Invitational will play the first 36 holes on Saturday, April 12 with the final 18 holes on Sunday, April 13th. Saturday’s rounds will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT and Sunday’s final round will start at 8:00 a.m. EDT.
Irish Lineup: Coach John Jasinski will use his lineup that features one senior and four freshmen as he has most of the season. Leading the group is team captain, Brandon Lunke (Sr., San Antonio, Texas), who will be joined by freshmen Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H.), Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn.), Scott Gustafson (Eden Praire, Minn.) and Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla.).
Last Tournament: Freshman Eric Deutsch was Notre Dame’s top finisher as he tied for 28th at the Texas A&M Border Olympics last weekend. Deutsch shot a three-over par 219 (69-76-74) to help the Irish to a 14th-place finish in the field of 20 teams. The Irish shot a 21-over par 885 for the tournament with rounds of 302, 297 and 286. Following Deutsch was fellow freshman Mark Baldwin who tied for 38th with a four-over par 220 (79-70-71). In the final round of play, the Irish shot their second-best round of the season (286) as Baldwin (71), Scott Gustafson (70) and Tommy Balderston (71) each had rounds under par.
Irish Leaders: Freshman Scott Gustafson leads the Irish with a 74.77 average over 26 rounds of play. The next four golfers are separated by just .51 strokes. Brandon Lunke is second with a 75.45 average in 20 rounds. Mark Baldwin follows him with a 75.52 average in 23 rounds, Eric Deutsch is fourth with a 75.92 mark in 26 rounds and Tommy Balderston rounds out the top five with a 75.96 average in the 23 rounds he’s played this season.
Tournament Results: Results will be available on the Notre Dame website at und.com after 10:00 p.m. on each day of tournament play.
Next For The Irish: The Irish men’s golf team will participate in the 2003 BIG EAST Championships that will be held at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday, April 21-22. Play will begin each morning at 8:00 a.m. (EST).