April 11, 1999
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Notre Dame senior co-captain Brad Hardin (Martinsville, Ind.) added to his impressive 1998-99 season with a runner-up finish while the Irish slipped a spot to fourth place, following final-round action Sunday at the Marshall Invitational, held at the par-71, 6,446-yard Guyan Golf and Country Club.
Hardin carded a final-round 72 for a career-best 216 total (+3), besting the three-over 219 he shot at last week's Kentucky Intercollegiate. Hardin's 216 equals the third-best 54-hole tournament score in recorded Notre Dame golf history (since 1963), trailing only the 209 shot by current junior Jeff Connell at the '98 Marshall Invitational and Connell's 212 at the Kentucky Intercollegiate.
Notre Dame (304-291-301) entered the day in third place, just three strokes behind eventual team champion Northwestern (298-294-292), which edged Toledo by two strokes in the final 20-team standings. Kent used a final-round 286 to vault from 12th to a third-place finish, three shots in front of the Irish.
Hardin's final round included a birdy on the par-five 1st hole, a double-bogey on the par-four 2nd, a birdy on the par-three 7th, a bogey on the par-four 9th, a birdy on the par-four 17th and a bogey on the par-four 18th. He finished the 54-hole tournament with eight birdies, 37 pars, seven bogeys and two double-bogeys.
Hardin has finished second in two previous intercollegiate tournaments: at the BIG EAST Championship in the fall of 1996 and at the 104-player Louisville Intercollegiate in the fall of '98. He is the third Notre Dame men's golfer to finish first or second at a tournament this spring, as senior Willie Kent won the Golden Ocala (Fla.) Intercollegiate (138) while Connell took second at the Kentucky Intercollegiate (212).
Connell (78-73-74) and classmate Todd Vernon (75-74-76) tied for 24th in the 100-player Marshall Invitational field while Kent closed with a disappointing 79 for a 230 total. Freshman Steve Ratay bounced back from a rocky first day for a final-round 80 and a 249 total.
Notre Dame and Marshall led the tournament field with 30 birdies while Kent's nine birdies tied for fifth-most among the 100 individuals.
NOTES: Hardin and Kent are now the Irish co-leaders with matching 74.88 stroke averages for 1998-99, followed by Connell (75.23) and Vernon (77.38) Ratay has averaged 79.00 in four events, since joining the starting five with two regular-season events left to play, Kent (74.58) has slipped to third on the Irish career stroke average list, behind Charles Thurn (74.43, 1956-58) and Joseph Grace (74.56, 1956-58) Connell (75.86) remains sixth on that list while Vernon (76.09) is seventh Hardin has dropped his career average to 76.67 (14th-best in Irish history), after entering his senior season with a 78.00 career average Kent and Hardin's current 1998-99 averages rank second-best at Notre Dame in the 1990s (Vernon averaged 74.59 in 1997-98) Connell's current 1998-99 average would rank fourth in the Irish 1990s record book just four Irish golfers have played more tournaments in the '90s than Hardin (29): Brian Donohoe (38, '93-'97), Bryan Weeks (34, '94-'98), Joe Dennen (34, '90-'93) and Joel Hepler (33, '93-'97) Hardin's 79 rounds played rank fourth by an Irish player in the decade, behind Weeks (93), Donohoe (92) and Chris O'Connell (79.5, '91-'95) Hardin also ranks third in rounds counted to team score in the '90s, with 61 (Weeks had 80, Donohoe 77) rounds counted to team score in '98-'99 (of 24): Kent 23, Hardin 22, Connell 19 (of 22) and Vernon 17 (Ratay has counted in six of 11) career rounds counted: Kent (36 of 38), Vernon (57 of 68), Connell (48 of 55) and Hardin (61 of 79).
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS (54 holes): 1. Northwestern 298-294-292/884; 2. Toledo 302-292-292/886; 3. Kent 306-301-286/893; 4. Notre Dame 304-291-301/896; 5. Kentucky 300-305-292/897; 6. Ohio State 307-294-296/899; 7. Marshall 305-299-296/899; Purdue 311-301-289/901; Wisconsin 304-299-298/901; 10. Michigan 309-297-298/901; 11. Indiana 301-308-295/904; Eastern Michigan 304-301-299/904; 13. Ohio 309-300-299/908; Miami, Ohio 307-294-307/908; 15. Illinois 305-303-302/910; 16. Eastern Kentucky 310-296-307/913; 17. Louisville 316-302-297/915; Akron 304-306-305/915; 19. Murray State 309-317-298/932; 20. Michigan State 320-314-314/940.
TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 100): 1. D.A. Points (ILL) 72-70-70/212; 2. Brad Hardin (ND) 73-71-72/216; 3. Michael Harris (MICH) 74-71-72/217; 4. Ben Curtis (KENT) 74-76-69/219; Richard Elliott (TOL) 72-74-73/219; Andrew Chapman (MICH) 73-72-74/219; 8. Jay Spargrove (OHIO) 78-71-71/220; Jim Lemon (WIS) 74-75-71/220.
OTHER NOTRE DAME SCORES: 24. Jeff Connell 78-73-74/225; 24. Todd Vernon 75-74-76/225; 51. Willie Kent 78-73-79/230; 95. Steve Ratay 88-81-80/249.