March 28, 2003
Lexington, Ky. – The Notre Dame men’s golf team makes its first appearance of the spring in the northern half of the United States this weekend when the Irish participate in the 18th annual Johnny Owens Invitational at the University of Kentucky. The 54-hole tournament will be played at Kentucky’s par 72, 6,992-yard Big Blue Course on Sat.-Sun. March 29-30. For the Irish, this is their ninth consecutive appearance in the Johnny Owens Invitational since the 1994-95 season. Last year, Notre Dame finished 14th in an 18-team field. Steve Ratay, who graduated in May of 2002, was the top finisher for the Irish as he tied for 16th with a four-over par 217 for the 54-hole tournament. Purdue won last year’s tournament while Kentucky’s John Holmes was the individual champion with a 207 mark.
The Teams: The 15 teams participating in the 2003 Johnny Owens Invitational include: Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Marshall, Miami (OH), Michigan, Morehead State, Notre Dame, Ohio University, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky and Xavier.
Dates and Times: The Johnny Owens Invitational is a two-day, 54-hole event that will be played on March 29-30. Saturday’s action will include two rounds of play beginning at 8:00 a.m. Sunday’s final round will also start at 8:00 a.m.
Irish Lineup: Coach John Jasinski will use the same five regular golfers he has used most of the season. This is the same group that last played in the Conrad Rehling Alabama Spring Invitational from March 14-16. The group includes: senior Brandon Lunke (San Antonio, Texas) and the four freshmen who saw a majority of the action in the fall – Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H.), Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn.), Scott Gustafson (Eden Praire, Minn.) and Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla.). Also making the trip is junior Bill McCaughan (Key Biscayne, Fla.).
Last Tournament: Notre Dame finished 12th in the 13-team field at the Conrad Rehling Alabama Spring Invitational with a 912 (301-309-302) total. The Irish finished 55 strokes behind tournament champion Auburn (857). The Irish were led by freshman Scott Gustafson, who tied for 36th with an 11-over par 224 (72-77-75). Freshman Tommy Balderston was second among Irish golfers and tied for 45th with a 226 (74-77-75).
Irish Leaders: Senior Brandon Lunke has Notre Dame’s top scoring average heading into this weekend’s play with a 74.43 for 14 rounds of play. He is followed by three freshmen who are separated by .75 strokes per round. Scott Gustafson is second with a 74.85 average in 20 rounds of play. Mark Baldwin follows him with a 75.41 over 17 rounds and Eric Deutsch is fourth with a 75.60 for 20 rounds of play. Tommy Balderston is right behind those three with a 75.95 average for 20 rounds. Bill McCaughan has a 79.00 average in just one fall tournament.
Tournament Results: Results will be available on the Notre Dame website at und.com after 9:00 p.m. on each day of tournament play.
Next For The Irish: The men’s golf team moves on to play in the Border Olympics on Friday-Saturday, April 4-5 at the Laredo Country Club in Laredo, Texas following this week’s action at the Johnny Owens Invitational.