Notre Dame Aims for Third Straight Big East Golf Title
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The University of Notre Dame men's golf team is set to defend its title at the 1997 BIG EAST Championship, in nearby South Bend, Indiana. The two-day, 36-hole event will be held at the Blackthorn Golf Club on September 28-29. Nine schools will compete for team and individual honors.
Notre Dame won its second straight BIG EAST crown last year at the Tournament Player's Club in Avenel, Maryland, shooting a two-day total of 595 (289-306). This year's Irish team is led by junior Brad Hardin, last year's runner-up at the BIG EAST Championship, senior captain Bryan Weeks, and sophomores Jeff Connell and Todd Vernon. Weeks was named to the 1997 All-America Scholar Team by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). At the Falcon/Cross Creek Invitational, the Irish finished 13th while producing the third-best round played by a Notre Dame team in this decade.
Georgetown, the 1996 runner-up, is looking strong so far this season, winning the Seton Hall Pirate Golf Invitational. Junior Matt Finger won individual honors, shooting a two-round total of two-over par 146, including a tournament-best 69 in the final round. Senior captain Bill Olin, who placed third in last year's BIG EAST Championship, junior Dan Kennedy, and sophomore Greg Koush look to help Finger point the way toward GU's first BIG EAST golf title.
Seton Hall finished sixth in its Pirate Invitational and was led by senior Ed Shannon, who shot a two-round total of 152, including a second-round one-over par 73. The Pirates, last year's third-place finishers at the BIG EAST Championship look to the 1996 top individual finisher Mike Costigan, as well as junior Clark Topping, and sophomores Scott Hawley and Ted Durkin to improve upon last year's finish.
Placing fifth at the Colgate/Cornell Golf Invitational, sophomore Dugin Condon helped Villanova to a fourth-place finish in its first match of the fall season. The Wildcats are also counting on senior Steve Horky and freshman Chris Ellis to contribute toward VU's campaign to pursue its third BIG EAST title.
St. John's opened its season by placing eighth at the Pirate Invitational. With the entire 1996 team returning, including senior co-captains Jerome Kim and Paul Sullivan, SJU is hoping that veteran experience will vault the team toward the school's 10th league title.
Head coach Maura Waters hopes that this is the year the Rutgers team moves to the next level. Behind top recruit Ryan MacDonald, a +1 handicap, and co-captains Brian Bevins and Brian Plotnick, the Scarlet Knights finished 13th at the Yale Fall Intercollegiate Invitational.
Boston College played in the Yale Invitational along with Connecticut, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, and Seton Hall. Placing 21st of 37 schools, the Eagles were led by sophomore Patrick Dunn and junior Sean Lim.
Connecticut finished 10th at the Yale outing, paced by senior tri-captain Brian Ahern's fifth place finish. Fellow senior captains Pete Sagnella and Greg Metro also look to lead the Huskies at the conference championship.
Providence College finished 18th at the Yale Invitational, with junior Rob Brennan tying for 40th. The Friars won the BIG EAST title in 1980 and 1993 under current head coach Joe Prisco.
BIG EAST GOLF NOTES
Blackthorn Golf Club is the site of the 1997 BIG EAST Golf Championship for the first time...Located in South Bend, Indiana, the par-72 course was designed by world-famous course architect Dr. Michael Hurdzan...The course is said to be beautiful and challenging, yet player-friendly...Blackthorn officially opened August 26, 1994.
THE TOURNAMENT'S HISTORY
Since the birth of the BIG EAST in 1979, there has been a golf championship...In the 18-year history, St. John?s has captured the team title nine times...St. John?s holds the record for the most consecutive titles (4, 1981-84 and 1986-89)...Providence and St. John?s both have had six individual champions...Pat Fogarty (SJU) is the only person to have won the league title more than once...Fogarty claimed the individual crown three consecutive times (1982-84)...Matt Zito (PC) holds two records for his 1979 performance; lowest 18-hole score, 70 (2 under par) and lowest 36 hole score, 142 (2 under par)...The BIG EAST Golf Championship has been held at six other sites: 1979 - Willimantic CC in Willimantic, Conn.; 1980 - Agawam Hunt CC in East Providence, R.I.; 1981 - Colonie Hill CC in Hauppauge, N.Y.; 1982-84 - Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y.; 1985-86 - Fredricksburg, Va.; 1987-96 - The Tournament Player?s Club in Avenel, Md...The BIG EAST title has been captured by six schools other than St. John?s: Providence in 1980 and 1993; Villanova in 1985 and 1990; Miami in 1991; Seton Hall in 1992; Connecticut in 1994; and Notre Dame in 1995 and 1996.
Team Rd.1 Rd.2 Total 1. Notre Dame 289 306 595 2. Georgetown 301 295 596 3. Seton Hall 300 312 612 4. Villanova 304 314 618 5. St. John's 317 316 633 6. Rutgers 318 319 637 7. Boston College 314 331 645 8. Connecticut 315 331 646 9. Providence 316 333 649 Individual Rd.1 Rd.2 Total 1. Mike Costigan, SHU 70 73 143 2. Brad Hardin, ND 70 74 144 3. Bill Olin, GU 71 74 145 4. Chris York, GU 74 74 148 5. Greg Metro, UC 71 79 150 6. David Egan, GU 78 73 151 6. Brian Donohoe, ND 70 81 151 8. Dan Kennedy, GU 78 74 152 8. Joel Hepler, ND 78 74 152