September 13, 1998
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Notre Dame men's golf team turned in another impressive round Saturday to remain in a battle for second place at the Falcon/Cross Creek Invitational, with the third and final round to be held Sunday at the par-72, 7,301-yard Eisenhower Blue Course.
Notre Dame entered the day in third place, two shots behind Boise State, after a team record-tying round of one-under 287 on Friday. The Irish tacked on a 290 in Saturday's play--producing the best back-to-back rounds in team history--for a 577 total that trails Boise State (285-290) by two strokes and Nebraska (291-285) by one. The University of California, the nation's #22-ranked team in the Collegiate Golf Federation preseason poll, holds a 12-shot cushion on Boise State after rounds of 278 and 285.
The Irish need to shoot 295 (+7) or lower in Sunday's round to post a new team record for 54-hole score, besting the nine-over 873 at the 1997-98 Legends of Indiana tournament.
Senior co-captain Brad Hardin (Martinsville, Ind.)--who last week defeated Jeff Connell on the first playoff hole to win the campus championship-stands tied with Colorado's Kurt Ekjord for seventh among the huge 115-player field, after posting the best back-to-back rounds of his career (71-72).
As a team, Notre Dame has maintained incredible balance in the play-five/count-four format, posting two 71s, three even-par 72s, three 73s and two 74s.
Connell (La Crosse, Wis.) is tied for ninth after rounds of 71 and 73 while senior Willie Kent (Asuncion, Paraguay) owns a share of 13th (72-73). Junior co-captain Todd Vernon (Englewood, Colo.) fired an even 72 on Saturday, after a first-round 74. Freshman Kyle Monfort (Dublin, Ohio) continued his impressive debut with a 74 on Saturday to go along with a first-round 73.
Hardin needs to shoot a final round of 79 or lower to complete the best 54-hole tournament of his career, with his previous best coming in the spring of 1998 at the Kentucky Intercollegiate (223/+7). Kent needs to shoot even par or better to secure his best 54-hole score with the Irish, since transferring from St. Louis University prior to the 1998 spring semester.
TEAM STANDINGS (36 holes of 54): 1. California 278-285/563; 2. Boise State 285-290/575; 3. Nebraska 291-285/576; 4. Notre Dame 287-290/577; 5. Illinois 294-289/583; 6. Air Force 300-286/586; 7. New Mexico 294-294/588; 8. Colorado 297-292/589; 9. Texas Wesleyan 292-301/593; 10. Weber State 299-295/594; Utah 295-299/594; 12. Wichita State 305-290/595; 13. New Mexico State 2992-97/596; Georgia Southern 301-296/596; 15. Tulane 302-296/598; 16. Xavier 301-299/600; Wyoming 293-302/600; 18. San Diego 298-305/603; 19. Idaho State 305-300/605; 20. Missouri 314-292/606; 21. Air Force (JV) 310-297/607; 22. Eastern Washington 305-306/611; Grand Canyon 309-302/611; 24. Southern Utah 310-304/614.
TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 115): 1. Steve Friesen (NEB) 71-67/138; Dong Yi (CAL) 68-70/138; 3. Dan Coyle (CAL) 71-69/140; Luke Sestero (BOISE) 70-70/140; 5. Tim McMillan (TXWES) 70-71/141; 7. Kurt Ekjord (COL) 72-71/143; Brad Hardin (ND) 71-72/143; 9. Patrick Hawkins (USD) 70-74/144; Jeff Connell (ND) 71-73/144; J.R. Shears (WEB) 74-70/144; Adam Martens (BOISE) 71-73/144.
OTHER NOTRE DAME SCORES: 13. Willie Kent 72-73/145; 21. Todd Vernon 74-72/146; 29. Kyle Monfort 73-74/147.