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Men's Golf Remains In First At Air Force Invitational

Sept. 18, 1999

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Notre Dame men’s golf team-paced by individual leader Todd Vernon (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek High School)-maintained possession of first place Saturday in second-round action of Air Force Falcon-Cross Creek Invitational.

Notre Dame-coming off a school-record round of 13-under 275 on Friday-turned in a 291 total on Saturday in the play-five, count-four format. The Irish head into Sunday’s final round with a 12-stroke cushion on Wyoming and host Air Force (578), followed by New Mexico State (579) and Michigan (583).

Vernon maintained his one-stroke lead among the 120-player field, after carding a 71 on Saturday at the par-72, 7,301-yard Eisenhower Blue Golf Course, to go along with a 66 in the opening round (best by an Irish golfer in 37 years). The senior captain and Colorado native needs to shoot 71 or better on Sunday to break the Notre Dame record for 54-hole tournament score, a mark set by his classmate Jeff Connell at the Marshall Invitational in the spring of 1998 (four-under 209). Vernon, who currently stands at seven-under 137, could shoot 74 on Sunday and still best Connell’s mark for best 54-hole score in relation to par.

Connell plunged from a share of second place to a tie for 49th, turning in a dreadful round of 82 after opening with a 67. Michigan’s Michael Harris (67-71) stands one stroke behind Vernon, with three other golfers at 139.

Notre Dame sophomore Steve Ratay continued his impressive play, shooting an even-par 72 on Saturday for a 142 total and a share of seventh. Juniors Adam Anderson 72-75) and Alex Kent (74-73)-who both are playing in their first tournament with the Irish-are tied for 35th in the huge field.

The Irish are in position to post the best 54-hole score in team history, needing to shoot 299 or lower in Sunday’s final round. The record of 866 was set last spring at the Kent State Collegiate, a par-70 tournament that yielded a 26-over total for the Irish.

Notre Dane’s all-time best 54-hole score in relation to par was set at the Legends of Indiana Intercollegiate in the fall of 1997 (nine-over 873). The Irish enter Sunday at 10-under par, needing to shoot 306 or lower on Sunday to establish a new 54-hole best in relation to par.

TEAM STANDINGS (18 holes of 54): 1. Notre Dame 275-291/566, 2. Wyoming 283-295/578, Air Force 290-288/578, 4. New Mexico State 292-287/579, 5. Michigan 287-296/583, Xavier 285-298/583, 7. Grand Canyon 286-298/584, Texas-Wesleyan 292-292/584, 9. San Diego 297-291/588, 10. Air Force-B 301-288/589, Idaho State 290-299/589, 12. Utah State 291-299/590, 13. Boise State 294-297/591, 14. Weber State 295-302/597, New Mexico-B 293-304/597, 16. Utah 296-306/602, 17. Tulane 297-306/603, Portland State 303-300/603, 19. Colorado-Colo. Springs 295-310/605, Tennessee-Chattanooga 307-298/605, 21. Illinois 309-298/607, 22. Eastern Washington 303-305/608, 23. Southern Utah 306-305/611, 24. Denver 305-308/613.

TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 120): 1. Todd Vernon (ND) 66-71/137, 2. Michael Harris (MICH) 67-71/138, 3. Scott Lieberwish (NMSU) 71-68/139, Matt Sakowitz (AFA-B) 73-66/139, Ken Franklin (IDST) 69-70/139, 6. John Davis (GC) 69-72/141, 7. David Hearn (WYO) 68-74/142, Jeff Scohy (AFA) 71-71/142, Steve Ratay 70-72/142.

OTHER NOTRE DAME SCORES: 35. Alex Kent 74-73/147, Adam Anderson 72-75/147, 49. Jeff Connell (ND) 67-82/149.