March 8, 2005
Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. – Windy conditions were the story of the day during the final round of play at the Irish Spring Invitational on Tuesday afternoon. Notre Dame placed in a tie for fourth with Penn State for the tournament with a 919 as they were part of the 13-team field that battled the elements, which resulted in high scores throughout the day at the par 72, 6,901-yard El Campeon Golf Course. Wichita State captured the team title by four strokes over Colorado State with an 885 (+21). Judd Easterling of Wichita State won the individual crown with a one-under par 215 out of the field of 75. Junior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) fired a Notre Dame-best score of 225 (78-73-74) to place in a tie for ninth as an individual entrant.
The Irish opened up play on Monday with a solid five-over par 293 in the first round to place third before shooting a 307 in the afternoon and winding up in sixth at the end of the first day. Notre Dame passed Mississippi State and squared up with Penn State during Tuesday’s final round as the Fighting Irish posted a 31-over par 319. One of the bright spots was freshman Greg Rodgers (Phoenix, Md.) as he led the charge for Notre Dame during the tournament with a 228 (76-75-77), including a scoring team-best five-over par 77 on Tuesday. Sophomore Cole Isban (South Bend, Ind.), who suffered an eye injury during play on Tuesday, shot an 81 for the final round to finish in 19th with a 229 (72-76-81). Junior Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H.) was one-shot in back of his teammate, Isban, after 54 holes of play as he fired a 230 (74-76-80) to place tied for 20th overall.
“Scott (Gustafson) played really well,” stated new Notre Dame head coach Jim Kubinski, who was guiding the Irish in their second event since being named to the position in January. “I’m excited for him and to get him back in the lineup because he brings a lot of tournament experience. Greg (Rodgers) also showed a heck of a lot out there. The weather was clearly a factor and it didn’t let us get going. It was just a day of survival and Greg did really well. I’m very pleased to have those guys back in the lineup.”
In a return to his home state, sophomore Tommy Balderston (Boca Raton, Fla.) carded the best round of the tournament for the Irish on Monday with a one-under par 71 before turning in rounds of 80 and 86 to finish with a 237 and in a tie for 34th place. Junior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn.) had a difficult outing throughout the tournament as he posted a 244 (83-80-81) to finish tied for 56th.
“I’m still trying to get a feel for each guy every time they go out there,” said Kubinski, whose team was coming off a victory at the NOKIA Sugar Bowl Tulane Invitational last week. “Cole (Isban) battled some adversity. He came in still under doctor’s orders with bronchitis and then he suffered the eye injury but he really gutted it out. The second round put us back a little but I was happy that we were able to pass Mississippi State and catch Penn State.”
Notre Dame sent five players out as individual entrants in the tournament. Gustafson carded the top round for any Irish golfer on Tuesday with two-over par 74, while sophomore Shane Sigsbee (McKinney, Texas) posted an 84 to finish with a 237 (79-74-84) for the tournament. Senior K.C. Wiseman (South Bend, Ind.) rolled up an 83 on the day to go with a pair of 79’s that he fired on Monday for a 241 total. Freshman Eddie Peckels (Pinehurst, N.C.) and junior Mike King (Sidney, Ohio) rounded out the field for the Irish with totals of 244 (77-83-84) and 247 (79-78-90), respectively.
The Fighting Irish return to the course this Sunday and Monday, March 13 and 14 as they take part in the General Jim Hackler Invitational at the TPC of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, S.C.
Irish Spring Invitational (El Campeon Golf Course – Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., Par 72, 6,901-yards)
Top-5 Team Scores (54-hole totals): 1. Wichita State 885 (288-285-312), 2. Colorado State 889 (289-296-304), 3. San Diego State 910 (301-292-317), 4t. Penn State 919 (300-298-321), 4t. Notre Dame 919 (293-307-319).
Top-5 Golfers plus Notre Dame scores (54-hole totals): 1. Judd Easterling (Wichita State) 215 (67-74-74), 2t. Kevin McAlpine (Colorado State) 220 (72-73-75), 2t. Jesse Schulte (Wichita State) 220 (72-71-77), 2t. Aaron Weston (Colorado State) 220 (71-74-75), 5. Tim Aquaviva (Rollins) 221 (71-72-78).
Notre Dame scores: (scoring team) 14t. Greg Rodgers 228 (76-75-77), 19. Cole Isban 229 (72-76-81), 20t. Mark Baldwin 230 (74-76-80), 34t. Tommy Balderston 237 (71-80-86), 56t. Eric Deutsch 244 (83-80-81). (individual entrants) 9t. Scott Gustafson 225 (78-73-74), 34t. Shane Sigsbee 237 (79-74-84), 49t. K.C. Wiseman 241 (79-79-83), 56t. Eddie Peckels 244 (77-83-84), 68t. Mike King 247 (79-78-90).
— ND –