April 25, 1999
RAVENNE, Ohio - The Notre Dame men's golf team improved from
ninth to seventh place in final-round action Sunday at the Kent/Cobra
Intercollegiate, with the third-best round in the program's history
leading to the best 54-hole total in the Notre Dame golf record book
(since competition shifted to stroke play, in 1966).
Notre Dame posted a four-over 284 in Sunday's final round, in
the play-five/count-four format at the par-70, 6,936-yard Windmill Lakes
Golf Course. The Irish, who opened with rounds of 294-288 on Saturday,
finished tied with Ohio University for seventh place in the 19-team
field, with an 866 total.
Irish senior Willie Kent and junior co-captain Todd Vernon
wrapped up strong showings by tying for 15th in the 100-player field
with identical rounds of 73-71-70 for a four-over total of 214-the
third-lowest 54-hole score in Notre Dame men's golf history (14th-best
in relation to par). Junior Jeff Connell shot a four-under 209 at the
Marshall Invitational in the spring of 1998 and a four-under 212 earlier
this spring at the Kentucky Invitational.
Notre Dame's 284 final round ranks as the third-lowest round in
the program's history, behind a one-under 283 at the Marshall
Invitational in the spring of 1998 and a plus-three 283 at Northern
Illinois in 1967-68. Sunday's four-over 284 ranks as the 11th-best round
in Irish history, when adjusted to par.
Notre Dame's 866 total (+26) represents the lowest 54-hole score
in team history, besting the nine-over 873 posted at the Legends of
Indiana Intercollegiate in the fall of 1997. The three-round total
ranks fifth in team history when adjusted to par, behind the '97-'98
Legends of Indiana (+9), last fall's Air Force Invitational (+16), the
'97 spring Legends of Indiana (+20) and the Kentucky Intercollegiate in
the spring of '98 (+24).
Senior co-captain Brad Hardin continued his strong final season
by tying for 35th with rounds of 73-74-71 while junior Jeff Connell
(75-72-73) and freshman Steve Ratay (79-77-75) rounded out the Irish
Purdue beat host Kent in a rarely-seen team playoff (which
lasted five holes and two-and-a-half hours), after both squads posted
totals of 852. Notre Dame finished just two strokes behind Miami (Ohio)
and four behind Illinois.
Notre Dame led the tournament with 36 birdies while ranking
fifth in par-four scoring, at +32.Kent tied for second in the tournament
field with 10 birdies while his +1 scoring on par-four holes tied for
sixth in the tournament field (Vernon tied for 10th at +2 on the
NOTES: Kent leads Notre Dame in spring stroke average (74.24) and
overall 1998-99 average (74.57), followed closely by Hardin (74.29,
74.77), as just six total shots separate them (over 30 rounds) S other
'98-'99 averages: Connell (75.57), Vernon (76.80) and Ratay (78.57, 14
spring rounds) S with one regular-season event left (May 8-9, Michigan
Invitational), Kent (74.41) has moved back into first on the Irish
career stroke average list, just below Charles Thurn (74.43, '56-'58) S
Kent would need to shot 223 or lower at Michigan to retain the record
(he also may qualify for the NCAAs as an individual, if Notre Dame does
not qualify as a team) S Connell (75.95) remains sixth on that list
while Vernon (75.96) is close behind in seventh S Hardin has dropped his
career average to 76.51 (12th-best in Irish history), after entering his
senior season at 78.00 S Kent and Hardin's season averages rank first
and third-best at Notre Dame in the 1990s (Vernon averaged 74.59 in
'97-'98), with Kent's ranking fifth all-time at Notre Dame (and best
since 1980), behind: Joe Grace (73.13, '55-'56), Thurn (73.88, '55-'56),
Bob Wilson (74.30, '68-'69) and John Lundgren (74.40, '79-'80) S
Connell's season average ranks sixth in the Irish 1990s record book S
just four Irish golfers have played more tournaments in the '90s than
Hardin (31): Brian Donohoe (38, '93-'97), Bryan Weeks (34, '94-'98), Joe
Dennen (34, '90-'93) and Joel Hepler (33, '93-'97) S Hardin's 85 rounds
rank third by an Irish player in the decade, behind Weeks (93) and
Donohoe (92) S Hardin ranks third in rounds counted to team score in the
'90s, with 67 (Weeks 80, Donohoe 77) S rounds counted to team score in
'98-'99 (of 30): Kent 29, Hardin 28, Connell 24 (of 28), Vernon 21 and
Ratay 6 (of 14) S career rounds counted: Kent (42 of 44), Vernon (63 of
74), Connell (53 of 61) and Hardin (67 of 85).
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Purdue 283-289-280/852; Kent 282-288-282/852; 3.
Toledo 286-287-281/854; 4. Wisconsin 279-295-284/858; 5. lllinois
284-289-289/862; 6. Miami, Ohio 290-288-286/864; 7. Notre Dame
294-288-284/866; Ohio 289-286-291/5866; 9. Marshall 295-296-291/872;
Ball State 286-295-291/872; 11. Iowa 289-295-293/877; 12. Eastern
Michigan 297-292-295/884; 13. Kentucky 296-292-297/885; 14. Bowling
Green 298-302-287/887; 15. Xavier 290-296-303/889; 16. Marquette
302-296-293/891; 17. Akron 302-301-293/895; 18. Northern Illinois
297-305-294/896; 19. Wright State 298-304-306/908.
TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 100): 1. Jamie Broce (BSU) 65-70-71/206; 2. Jon
Mills (KENT) 69-70-68/207; 3. Matt Stutzman (IOWA) 68-71-69/208; 4.
Tim Rice (TOL) 73-69-68/210; Sam O'Dell (MAR) 71-70-69/210; 6. Mike
Johnston (MARQ) 71-71-69/211; Steve Dixon (XAV) 71-68-72/211.
NOTRE DAME SCORES: 15. Willie Kent 73-71-70/214; 15. Todd Vernon
73-71-70/214; 35. Brad Hardin 73-74-71/218; 42. Jeff Connell
75-72-73/220; 83. Steve Ratay 79-77-75/231.