May 13, 2006
ARDMORE, Okla. — Playing in one of its toughest tournaments of the season, the Notre Dame men’s golf team finds itself in ninth place through 36 holes at The Maxwell, which teed off Saturday at the Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club (par 70/6,442 yards) in Ardmore, Okla. The Irish carded a six-under par 554 (282-272) and are among six schools separated by 13 strokes in the middle of the 11-team pack. Four-time defending tournament champion (and second-ranked) Oklahoma State leads the way after two rounds at 524 (-32), four shots better than fellow Big 12 Conference member (and 15th-ranked) Baylor (528) in a tournament that featured seven NCAA regional qualifying teams among its 10 Division I competitors (NAIA power Oklahoma City is also participating this weekend).
For the second consecutive year, The Maxwell is employing a unique scoring formula in which all teams tee off together in groups of five and the top four individual scores on each hole are counted, rather than the top four scores for the entire round. Thus, a premium is placed on aggressive play and the ability to post numerous birdies. Consequently, 10 of the 11 teams are under par through the first two rounds, with Sam Houston State the only squad outside red numbers at 12-over par 572. In its 15th year, The Maxwell is considered one of the nation’s top tune-up events for NCAA regional play, which gets underway next week (Notre Dame is headed to the NCAA East Regional in Orlando, Fla.).
Although the unusual scoring system does have a bit to do with it, Notre Dame’s team scores in both rounds on Saturday will go down among the best in school history. The second-round 272 matched the school-record mark the Irish carded in the final round of last month’s BIG EAST Conference Championship en route to a 12-shot comeback and their third consecutive league title. Meanwhile, the opening-round 282 ties for the sixth-lowest in school history. For the season, Notre Dame now has a total of nine rounds at par or better this year (seven in red numbers).
On the individual ladder, senior tri-captain and three-time all-BIG EAST selection Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) is leading the Irish to this point, tying for 15th place in the 55-man field at even-par 140 (68-72). Baldwin is 10 strokes off the lead held by Oklahoma State’s Jonathon Moore (130), who is up by five shots on his OSU teammate, Zack Robinson (135).
Junior tri-captain Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian) is the next-lowest Notre Dame scorer in a 29th-place tie at three-over par 143 (74-69). Freshman Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) is in a tie for 42nd place at seven-over par 147 (72-75). Rounding out the Irish lineup are senior tri-captain Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie), who is in a 46th-place deadlock at 10-over par 150 (76-74), and senior Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews), who was disqualified in the first round (and thus won’t have an individual finish for the tournament), but shot a one-over par 71 in the second round to aid his team’s effort.
Notre Dame will close out play at The Maxwell on Sunday, beginning with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. (CT) from the No. 4 tee at Dornick Hills. Live video coverage of the tournament, courtesy of KXII-TV in Ardmore, Okla., can be found on-line starting at 11 a.m. (CT) and lasting through the conclusion of the event. Final results will be available on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com) and the Irish Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) upon completion of the day’s action.
— ND —
May 13, 2006 — Ardmore, Okla.
Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club (par 70/6,442 yards)
TEAM RESULTS (36-hole totals): 1. Oklahoma State 524 (259-265); 2. Baylor 528 (264-264); 3. Tulsa 538 (277-261); 4. SMU 540 (271-270); 5. (tie) Oklahoma City 542 (273-269) and Oklahoma 542 (273-269); 7. Michigan State 547 (272-275); 8. Colorado 550 (282-268); 9. NOTRE DAME 554 (282-272); 10. Louisiana-Monroe 559 (287-272); 11. Sam Houston State 572 (294-278).
TOP TWO INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 55): 1. Jonathon Moore (Oklahoma State) 130 (64-66); 2. Zack Robinson (Oklahoma State) 135 (66-69); 15. (tie) Mark Baldwin (Notre Dame) 140 (68-72); 29. (tie) Cole Isban (Notre Dame) 143 (74-69); 42. (tie) Josh Sandman (Notre Dame) 147 (72-75); 46. (tie) Scott Gustafson (Notre Dame) 150 (76-74); DQ. Tommy Balderston (Notre Dame) DQ (DQ-71).