July 9, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s golf team will compete in six tournaments as part of a challenging 2009 fall schedule announced Thursday by sixth-year head coach Jim Kubinski. Notre Dame is slated to play in five different states during the upcoming fall campaign, highlighted by the fourth annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, to be held Oct. 5-6 at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.
The Fighting Irish will tee off the ’09 fall docket Sept. 14-15 in Wayzata, Minn., at the Gopher Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Spring Hill Golf Club. Notre Dame has competed in the tournament three times in its four-year history, winding up in the top five twice, including a tie for fourth place at the 2007 Gopher Invitational. Scott Gustafson was the best individual finisher for the Fighting Irish at the Minnesota tourney, sharing sixth place in 2005.
Notre Dame then heads to Franklin, Tenn., on Sept. 25-27 for the Mason Rudolph Championship, which will be hosted by Vanderbilt University at the VU Legends Golf Club. The Fighting Irish took part in this event in 2007, but the tournament was shortened to 18 holes by poor weather and Notre Dame finished in a tie for eighth place.
The Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic once again promises to be one of the signature events on college golf’s fall calendar, with Notre Dame welcoming a 12-team field that includes 2009 NCAA runner-up Arkansas (the defending tournament champion), as well as ’09 NCAA Championship qualifiers Iowa and Lamar, and ’09 NCAA regional participants Colorado, San Francisco and Texas-Arlington. The field will play the first two rounds (36 holes) on Monday, Oct. 5, followed by the final round on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the award-winning Warren Golf Course (par 70, 7,023 yards), which also will be one of six regional sites for the 2010 NCAA Championship.
One week later, Notre Dame is back on the road, this time heading to La Quinta, Calif., for The Prestige at PGA West, to be co-hosted by Stanford and UC Davis on the Greg Norman Course at the famed PGA West facility. The Fighting Irish have been regulars at this event in recent years, competing four times in the past five seasons, and posting their best finish in 2005 (a tie for fifth). Cole Isban has been the program’s best individual finisher at PGA West, earning runner-up honors in 2004.
For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame will take part in the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship, penciled in for Oct. 24-25 at the Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. The home course of Fighting Irish fifth-year All-America candidate Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford), Forest Oaks has seen Notre Dame finish in the top 10 on both prior trips to the Triad, while rising sophomore Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.)) turned in an electrifying performance at last year’s tournament, sharing medalist honors with a career-low score of three-under par 213, becoming the first Notre Dame rookie to win an individual title since 1990.
The Fighting Irish will close out their fall 2009 schedule at the first-ever BIG EAST Conference Match Play Championship, to be held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Southern Pines, N.C., at the Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club. The tournament, which will not have any bearing on the conference champion and the league’s automatic bid to postseason play, is designed to mimic the head-to-head match play format used at the NCAA Championship (pitting the top eight teams from 54 holes of stroke play in a single-elimination draw to determine the national champion), with further details and first-round matchups for the BIG EAST event to be released by the conference office at a later date.
Notre Dame returns all 11 players from last year’s squad that recorded three top-five finishes and wound up fourth at the BIG EAST Championship in Dade City, Fla. Three of the Fighting Irish veterans –Sandman, Scodro and senior-to-be Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) — are returning all-conference selections, while Sandman was a 2008 PING All-Midwest Region choice and also was the program’s first-ever individual qualifier for NCAA regional play.
— ND —