Sept. 26, 1998

IOWA City, Iowa – Notre Dame junior Willie Kent (Asuncion, Paraguay) holds a two shot lead while the Irish stand just three strokes behind Wisconsin, following two rounds of action Saturday at the Iowa Hawkeye Intercollegiate. The 12-team tournament concludes with 18 holes on Sunday.

Kent, who has made a major impact on the Irish program since transferring from Saint Louis University prior to the 1997 spring semester, was tied for third with Northern Illinois’ Tim Countryman following a first-round 71 at the par-71, 6,724-yard Finkbine Golf Course. Kent then turned in a two-under 69-the tournament’s second-lowest score of the day-in his afternoon round to move into sole possession of first place, two shots ahead of Wisconsin’s Todd Anderson (72-70).

As a team, Notre Dame stood in third place after a morning round of 11-over 295 in the play-five/count-four format. The Irish then improved to 291 in the afternoon for a 586 total, vaulting past Kentucky (291-300) into second place behind Wisconsin (288-295/583). Five teams are within nine shots of Notre Dame, among them Iowa (590), NIU (594), Xavier (594) and Michigan (595).

Notre Dame junior Jeff Connell (La Crosse, Wis.) extended his stellar play in recent months by posting rounds of 75 and 72 for a share of 10th in the 66-player field. Senior co-captain Brad Hardin (Martinsville, Ind.) is tied for 17th following rounds of 73 and 75 while freshman Kyle Monfort (Dublin, Ohio) continued his impressive start with the Irish after posting a 151 (76-75).

Junior co-captain Todd Vernon (Englewood, Colo.) suffered two of his “worst” back-to-back rounds in recent memory, as neither of his rounds (80-76) counted to the team score.

Wisconsin’s Ryan Helminen had led after an opening-round 68 but slipped to fifth due to a 76 in the afternoon. Kentucky’s Jeremy Langley was in second after an opening 70 and heads into Sunday tied with Iowa’s Chris Englund (73-70) for third, after firing a 73 in the afternoon.

TEAM STANDINGS (36 holes of 54):  1. Wisconsin               288-295/583   2. Notre Dame              295-291/586   3. Iowa                    301-289/590   4. Kentucky                291-300/591   5. Northern Illinois       301-293-594      Xavier                  303-291/594   7. Michigan                296-299/595   8. Bowling Green           301-298/599   9. Western Illinois        305-302/607      Marquette               302-305/607  11. Akron                   304-304/608  12. Wright State            315-302/617
TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 66): 1. Willie Kent (ND) 71-69/140 2. Todd Anderson (WIS) 72-70/142 3. Jeremy Langley (KY) 70-73/143 Chris Englund (IOWA) 73-70/143 5. Ryan Helminen (WIS) 68-76/144 6. Mike Johnston (MARQ) 73-72/145 Tim Countryman (NIU) 71-74/145 8. Jeff Hunt (BG) 73-73/146 Joe Osmon (WS) 73-73/14610. Jeff Connell (ND) 75-72/147 Edcins Erkmanis (MARQ) 73-74/147 Steve Dixon (XAV) 72-75/147 Michael Reis (XAV) 76-71/147 Adam Turner (IOWA) 72-75/147 Steve Childress (NIU) 77-70/147 Jim Lemon (WIS) 73-74/147
OTHER NOTRE DAME SCORES: 17. Brad Hardin 73-75/148 29. Kyle Monfort 76-75/151 54. Todd Vernon 80-76/156