April 17, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Notre Dame men’s golf team resumed its late push for a spot among the Midwest District’s six-team contingent in the NCAA Tournament by earning a share of seventh place at the 31st annual Ohio State Kepler Intercollegiate, heading into Sunday’s final round.
The surging Irish-who have placed second and fourth in their last two outings-opened play with a score of 310 on the par-72, 7,109-yard OSU Scarlet Golf Course before improving five strokes in the afternoon round for a 615 total, matching Michigan State for seventh place in the 15-team field. Notre Dame stands just one stroke behind Michigan, four behind Miami (Ohio) and Illinois and nine behind third-place Kent. Northwestern and Wisconsin head into the final round as co-leaders, after posting two-round totals of 601.
Seniors Brad Hardin (Martinsville, Ind.) and Willie Kent-who entered the day tied for the team stroke average lead (74.88)-led the way for the Irish on Saturday. Hardin, who took runner-up honors at last week’s Marshall Invitational, is tied for 13th after posting rounds of 76-75. Kent-a two-time medalist in 1998-99-is just one stroke behind after carding rounds of 77-75.
Hardin heads into the final round just five strokes behind leader C.J. Brock of Wisconsin (74-72) and is just three shots out of the top five.
Junior Todd Vernon turned in solid rounds of 78-76 for the Irish while his classmate Jeff Connell stumbled to a second-round 82, after opening with a 79. Freshman Chris Whitten posted an 87-79 in his first action with the Irish starting five.
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Northwestern 301-300/601; Wisconsin 303-298/601; 3. Kent 311-295/606; 4. Illinois 305-306/611; Miami, Ohio 306-305/611; 6. Michigan 304-301/614; 7. Michigan State 314-301/615; Notre Dame 310-305/615; 9. Purdue 313-307/620; 10. Indiana 307-314/621; 11. Ohio State 320-302/622; 12. Toledo 308-315/623; 13. Penn State 314-311/625; 14. Iowa 322-310/632; 15. Marshall 318-322/640.
TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 75): 1. C.J. Brock (WIS) 74-72/146; 2. Matt Pumford (MSU) 75-72/147; Luke Donald (NW) 74-73/147; 4. Albert Hromulak (OSU) 73-75/148; Danny Sahl (KENT) 76-72/148; 6. Matt Abbott (PSU) 77-72/149; DA. Points (ILL) 73-76/149; Jess Daley (NW) 75-74/149.
NOTRE DAME SCORES: 13. Brad Hardin 76-75/151; 15. Willie Kent 77-75/152; 25. Todd Vernon 78-76/154; 59. Jeff Connell 79-82/161; 59. Chris Whitten 87-79/166.