April 2, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After enjoying a three-week break to get rested and re-fueled for the balance of the spring season, the Notre Dame men’s golf team gets back on the links this weekend at the Cleveland Golf/Augusta State Invitational in Augusta, Ga. The Irish are part of an impressive 18-team field that features 10 teams that are ranked in the Top 25 of the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index ratings, including four Top 10 squads. The tournament will be held at the prestigious Forest Hills Golf Club (7,231 yards, par 72) in Augusta, a layout that was designed by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross and was the site of the 1930 Southeastern Open, which was won by the legendary Bobby Jones the year he became the first player ever to win golf’s Grand Slam.
The Teams: This year’s Cleveland Golf/ASU Invitational has an 18-team field that also includes Alabama, Augusta State, Clemson, Duke, East Tennessee State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Texas, Toledo, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. The host school, Augusta State, won last year’s tournament by two strokes, defeating Clemson with a tournament record score of 44-under par 820. This year’s field is especially high-powered, with more than half of the teams (10) appearing in the Top 25 of the current Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index rankings – #2 Clemson, #3 Georgia, #4 UCLA, #7 Texas, #11 South Carolina, #13 Minnesota, #18 Augusta State, #21 Wake Forest, #23 North Carolina and #25 Duke.
Dates and Times: Teams will play the first two rounds (36 holes) on Saturday and come back for the final 18 holes on Sunday. The first round will be a shotgun start with golfers teeing off in threesomes around the course beginning at 8 a.m. (ET). Tee times for the second and third rounds will be contingent upon team scores at the conclusion of the previous round.
Irish Lineup: The top portion of the Notre Dame lineup has been solid this season and third-year head coach John Jasinski has seen no reason to fool with a good thing. As such, sophomores Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) and Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews HS) and freshman Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS) all have secured places on the travel squad this weekend. In addition, sophomore Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) will make his fourth consecutive start this spring, joining his teammates in the Peach State. Rounding out the Irish quintet will be sophomore Daniel Klauer (Granger, Ind./Mishawaka Marian HS), who will see his first action of the spring. Klauer, who had a 79.83 stroke average in two tournaments last fall, won an intrasquad playoff earlier this week to earn his place in this weekend’s lineup.
Last Tournament: Bolstered by a solid second-round 297, Notre Dame finished ninth at the Conrad Rehling Alabama Spring Invitational March 12-14 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Irish wound up firing a 42-over 906, 28 shots behind tournament winner Alabama. For the second consecutive tournament, Gustafson set the pace for Notre Dame, tying for 11th place with a three-over par 219 (73-69-77). Isban and Balderston tied for 26th place with matching scores of 10-over par 226, while Baldwin was tied for 57th place at 19-over par 235. Sophomore Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes HS) finished one stroke behind Baldwin at 20-over 236.
Irish At The Cleveland Golf/ASU Invitational: This year will mark Notre Dame’s first-ever appearance in the Cleveland Golf/ASU Invitational, which is being held for the 26th time in 2004.
Irish Leaders: Gustafson leads Notre Dame with a 74.22 spring average, followed by Balderston (74.78) and Isban (75.67). As a team, the Irish are at their best in the second round, posting a 298.50 average in the middle 18 holes, paced by Gustafson (72.38) and Balderston (73.43). Gustafson also holds the team lead with seven rounds of par or better, with Balderston right behind him (6). In terms of rounds counting toward the team score, Isban is tops on the squad (.955, 21 of 22), leading Gustafson (.870, 20 of 23) and Balderston (.850, 17 of 20).
Tournament Results: Live scoring from the tournament will be available on-line through the GolfStat web site (www.golfstat.com). In addition, results will be available at www.und.com upon completion of each round on both days of the tournament.
Next For The Irish: Notre Dame faces a critical Midwest District test April 9-11 at the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind.
– ND –