March 28, 2002
Lexington, Ky. – The Notre Dame men’s golf team returns to action this weekend when the Irish travel to Lexington, Ky., to participate in the Johnny Owens Invitational hosted by the University of Kentucky. The Irish are part of an 18-team field that will play 36 holes on Fri., March 29th and finish with 18 holes on Sat., March 30th. The tournament will be played at the par 71, 6,687-yard University Club of Kentucky.
The Irish finished ninth in a 15-team field last year with a 54-hole total of 896 on rounds of 298-296-302. Senior Steve Ratay (Arlington Heights, Ill.) will be the only Irish golfer who played last year playing in the 2002 tourney. He finished in a tie for 28th with an eight-over par 224 (75-73-76).
Joining the Irish in the 18-team field are: Akron, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Morehead State, Murray State, Ohio University, Purdue, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin, Wright State, Youngstown State and Xavier.
The Irish are coming off a seventh-place finish at last weekend’s Pepsi-Cola Invitational at Pottsboro, Texas where they fired rounds of 306-307-304 for a 917 total. Ratay (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and freshman K.C. Wiseman (South Bend, Ind.) turned in top 20 finishes as Ratay tied for 13th and Wiseman had a career-best 20th-place finish.
Ratay has been Notre Dame’s top golfer all season with three top-five finishes and five top 20 performances on the year. His average for the year stands at 72.80 which would break the Irish record of 73.13 (Joe Grace, 1955-56), which has stood for 46 years. For his career, Ratay owns a 74.60 average for 93 rounds that ranks him fourth all-time, just .17 off the career-mark of 74.43, which is held by Charles Thurn (1956-58).
Wiseman has been a pleasant surprise during the spring with a 76.25 average, which is second to only Ratay. For the year, the South Bend native owns a 76.73 mark.
Also expected to play for the Irish at the Johnny Owens Invitational are junior Brandon Lunke (San Antonio, Texas) and freshmen Steve Colnitis (Baldwin, Md.) and Ryan Marshall (Marco Island, Fla.).
Lunke has played in six of eight tournaments this season and is fifth on the squad with a 77.29 average. Colnitis, who tied for 27th last weekend at the Pepsi Invitational, has scored in all 18 rounds he’s played this season and is third on the team with a 76.94 average. Marshall did not play last weekend but has seen action in five of the team’s eight tournaments this season. He brings a 77.18 mark to Lexington, Ky., this weekend.
Action begins on Friday morning with a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. while Sunday’s scheduled tee times will begin at 8:00 a.m. and go through 10:15 a.m.