Aug. 20, 2006
CHASKA, Minn. – University of Notre Dame senior All-America candidate Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) and sophomore Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford HS) have made their way to Chaska, Minn., where they will begin play in the 106th United States Amateur Championship on Monday at the famed Hazeltine National Golf Club (par 72/7,473 yards). Isban will be competing in the event for the third consecutive year, while Sandman is preparing for his initial appearance in 2006, with this marking the second consecutive year Notre Dame has sent multiple players to the nation’s premier amateur event, which is hosted by the United States Golf Association (USGA).
The field of 312 players, which consists primarily of competitors who advanced through sectional qualifiers around the country, will participate in two rounds of stroke play on Monday and Tuesday at Hazeltine (which has hosted seven other USGA events, including the 1991 U.S. Open won by the late Payne Stewart in a playoff) and the Chaska Town Course (par 71/6,616 yards). The top 64 golfers from the stroke play portion of the tournament will advance to match play, which gets underway Wednesday and continues through Sunday’s 36-hole championship match. The U.S. Amateur will have 10 hours of national television coverage on the final five days of the championship, with The Golf Channel airing first-, third- and quarterfinal-round matches from Wednesday through Friday (4-6 p.m. ET each day). NBC then will cover the semifinal and championship matches on Saturday and Sunday (also 4-6 p.m. ET both days).
Isban is scheduled to go off in the first round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur on Monday at 1:45 p.m. CT (2:45 p.m. ET in South Bend) from the 10th tee at Hazeltine. He then will head over to the Chaska Town Course for his second round of stroke play on Tuesday beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT on the first hole. Isban’s playing partners for the two stroke play rounds will be Pablo Martin, a two-time All-America junior at Oklahoma State who was runner-up at the recently-completed Western Amateur, and Matthew Swan, a sophomore at Alabama who reached the third round of match play at last year’s U.S. Amateur.
Isban will be hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to advancing out of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur. In 2004, the South Bend native finished a mere two strokes out of a playoff to move into match play, winding up tied for 98th place at 12-over par 152 (77-75) at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (site of this year’s U.S. Open won by Geoff Ogilvy). Last year, Isban missed the U.S. Amateur cut line by four shots, carding a 10-pver par 150 (81-69) at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Isban is a two-time PING All-Midwest Region selection at Notre Dame and currently holds the school records for both single-season stroke average (72.97 in 2005-06) and career stroke average (74.10).
Sandman opens this year’s Championship on Monday at 8:40 a.m. CT on Hazeltine’s No. 10 tee. He then ventures to the Chaska Town Course for Tuesday’s second stroke play round at 1:55 p.m. CT on the first hole. During stroke play, Sandman will be paired with Ray Sheedy, a senior at Charlotte who led the 49ers to the NCAA Championships last season, and 38-year-old Patrick Carter, the 12-time West Virginia state amateur champion.
Schedules, records and other information related to this week’s U.S. Amateur Championship may be found on-line through the tournament’s official website.
— ND —