Sept. 21, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Playing host to the annual Fighting Irish Golf Classic at the renowned Warren Golf Course, the University of Notre Dame men's golf team did its part in defending "home field" on Monday. A second round, two-under-par 69 from junior Matthew Rushton, along with one-under 70s from junior Blake Barens and freshman Miguel Delgado, vaulted Notre Dame to a one-shot overnight lead at 569 (288-281) following the opening 36 holes of play.
St. Mary's (California), which was positioned atop the leaderboard for much of the second round, closed day one a single stroke behind Notre Dame at two-over-par 570 (285-285). Wofford College placed solo third at 571 (288-283), followed by 18-hole leader DePaul in fourth place with a score of 575 (281-294). Loyola-Maryland (287-289) and Utah State (292-284) tied for fifth place at 576.
The Irish were buoyed on day one by the strong play of Rushton, who rolled in a key birdie at the par 4 eighth hole in his opening round to close out a front nine 37. He then birdied the par 3 11th and par 4 13th holes on the back side before rolling in birdies at the 345-yard 16th and 565-yard 17th holes. Three back nine bogies knocked Rushton's second side total to one-under-par 35, giving him a one-over 72 for the tournament's first 18 holes.
After an even par 35 on the front nine of his afternoon round, Rushton knocked in back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 to move to two-under-par. A birdie at the par 5 17th offset a back side bogey to place Rushton in a tie for eighth place overall at 141 (72-69, -1). He finished third in the field after the opening 36 holes with nine birdies for the tournament.
Delgado bounced back from a seven at the par 4 second hole in his morning 18 to notch birdies at the par 4 third and seventh holes, making the turn at one-over-par (36). A birdie at the 443-yard 12th and 345-yard 16th holes bookended a pair of inward bogies to close a first round 72.
Following a three-over-par start to the second round, Delgado found birdies at the 185-yard ninth, 245-yard 11th and 418-yard 15th holes to get back to level par for the afternoon. Delgado capped the back nine with three straight pars before adding a birdie at the par 4 first for his final hole of the day, carding a one-under-par 70 to tie for 12th place at 142 (72-70, +1).
Barens responded from an opening double bogey at the par 4 third hole with four birdies in a six-hole stretch during the first round. A three at the 345-yard 16th countered a closing bogey, allowing Barens to card the lowest Notre Dame first round total with an even par 70.
Barens was equally impressive on the back nine in his second round, logging birdies at numbers 10, 12, 16 and 17 as part of a three-under-par 33 on that side. Barens joined Rushton in a tie for eighth place at one-under 141 (71-70) after 36 holes. Barens led the entire field with 11 birdies on day one, and finished the day a cumulative four-under on par 5s at the Warren Golf Course.
Freshman Ben Albin began the day with a two-over 73 in his first round before inching up the board in the second round. Birdies at the par 4 third and par 3 fourth holes brought the Notre Dame newcomer under par for the second 18. A birdie at the par 5 10th hole combatted three inward bogies, closing a second round one-over 72 to give Albin a share of 23rd place (73-72=145).
Senior Cory Sciupider rounded out the Notre Dame starting lineup with a pair of 76s over his first 36 holes, tying for 54th place at 152. Sciupider carded a total of six birdies during Monday play.
Sophomore Thomas Steve was the leading Irish unattached player competing in the individual draw, notching three birdies in the second round to tie for 36th place at 148 (76-72). Classmate Jens Verhey tied for 45th place at 150 (77-73), while freshman Kevin Conners logged a 151 (77-74) that included an eagle at the par 5 10th hole during his second round to tie for 48th place.
Junior Liam Cox claimed a share of 62nd place at 155 (76-79), while senior Zach Toste finished in solo 69th at 160 (78-82).
Four players staked a share of the day one individual lead after 36 holes, with Xavier's Daniel Wetterich (68-71), Eastern Michigan's Nicholas Ross (69-70), William & Mary's Will Stewart (72-67) and Loyola-Maryland's Ethan Wall (70-69) tied atop the leaderboard at three-under-par 139.
The third and final round of the Fighting Irish Golf Classic is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. (ET) on Tuesday, with tee times commencing off the first and 10th tees at the Warren Golf Course. The Notre Dame starting lineup will go off the first tee starting at 9:50 a.m. Live round scoring will be available via Golfstat.