April 22, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s golf team came up two strokes short on Tuesday afternoon and finished second at the BIG EAST Men’s Golf Championship to three-time champion Virginia Tech. The Irish went into the final round of play with a four stroke lead on the Hokies after 36 holes, but could not hold on the par 70, 7,011-yard Warren Golf Course.
Notre Dame shot a final round of 301, while the Hokies shot a 15-over par 295, to win the tournament. Virginia Tech finished with an 889 total (302-292-295) while the Irish shot a 54-hole total of 891 (292-298-301). Georgetown finished third with a 924 (300-309-315) and Rutgers was fourth with a 927 (306-308-313). Seton Hall rounded out the top five with a 936 (302-319-315) as the tournament was played in temperatures in the mid-30s with 10-20 m.p.h. winds.
The BIG EAST win gives the Hokies the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals in May.
Individually, Virginia Tech’s Brendon De Jonge won the tournament by 11 shots, as he was the only player to finish at even par or better. De Jonge opened with a 73 on Monday and then followed with sub-par rounds of 68 and 69 in tough weather conditions to finish at even par 210.
Two golfers, Notre Dame’s Scott Gustafson (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Virginia Tech’s Chris McKeel, tied for second with 221 totals. The first round co-leader, Gustafson opened with an even par 70 and then fired rounds of 75 and 76 for his 221. McKeel finished with two strong rounds of 73 after shooting an opening round 75 for his 221 mark.
Notre Dame senior Brandon Lunke (San Antonio, Texas) and St. John’s Andrew Svoboda tied for fourth with 12-over par totals of 222. Lunke had rounds of 72, 77 and 73 while Svoboda, the 2001 BIG EAST tri-champion, shot 71, 76 and 75 to round out the top five golfers in the 30-player field.
Two more Irish golfers finished in the top seven as Mark Baldwin (Fr., Laconia, N.H.) and Tommy Balderston (Fr., Boca Raton, Fla.) finished sixth and seventh respectively. Baldwin was consistent over the 54 holes shooting rounds of 75, 74 and 75 for a 14 over par 224. Balderston shot 76, 73, 77 to finish seventh with a 16-over mark of 226.
Rounding out Notre Dame’s five golfers was Eric Deutsch (Fr., Rochester, N.H.) who tied for 11th with a 230 (75-76-79).
Notre Dame will close out its regular season on Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27 when they travel to Michigan State to play in the Bruce Fossum/Taylor Made Classic. The 54-hole tournament begins with a shotgun start on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) at the Forest Akers West Golf Course.
FINAL TEAM RESULTS (54-hole totals): 1. Virginia Tech 302-292-295-889; 2. Notre Dame 292-298-301-891; 3. Georgetown 300-309-315-924; 4. Rutgers 306-308-313-927; 5. Seton Hall 302-319-315-936; 6. St. John’s 308-318-322-948.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 30): 1. Brandon De Jonge (Virginia Tech) 73-68-69-210; t2. Scott Gustafson (Notre Dame) 70-75-76-221; Chris McKeel (Virginia Tech) 75-73-73-221; t4. Brandon Lunke (Notre Dame) 72-77-73-222; Andrew Svoboda (St. John’s) 71-76-75-222; 6. Mark Baldwin (Notre Dame) 75-74-75-224; 7. Tommy Balderston (Notre Dame) 76-73-77-226; 8. Nick Cook (Georgetown) 73-80-74-227; Mike Kosup (Rutgers) 75-76-77-228; Scott Wise (Virginia Tech) 79-75-75-229.
NOTRE DAME PLAYERS (of 30): t2. Scott Gustafson 70-75-76-221; t4. Brandon Lunke 72-77-73-222; 6. Mark Baldwin 75-74-75-224; 7. Tommy Balderston 76-73-77-226; t11. Eric Deutsch 75-76-79-230.