April 28, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Fresh off winning the third annual Battle at the Warren and in search of a repeat performance as conference champions, the University of Notre Dame men’s golf team heads to the 2012 BIG EAST Championship Sunday-Tuesday at the Reunion Resort Watson Course in Orlando, Fla.
The Watson Course is one of three courses offered for play at the Reunion Resort alongside The Nicklaus Course and The Palmer Course. The Watson Course stretches out as a 7,257-yard, par-72 track designed by Tom Watson with both the front and back nines checking in at a par of 36.
Twelve teams head to Reunion Resort in search of the 2012 BIG EAST Championship. The Irish headline the field, entering as the tournament’s No. 1 seed due to their Golfstat ranking of 68. USF (84th according to Golfstat) and Louisville (108) represent the second and third seeds, respectively, with St. John’s (139), Villanova (144), Georgetown (171), Seton Hall (175) and DePaul (177) check in at fourth through eight. Connecticut (187), Marquette (218), Rutgers (259) and Cincinnati round out the 12-team field.
THE IRISH LINEUP
Notre Dame turns to its typical five-count-four lineup, featuring seniors Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), Tom Usher (Baildon, England) and Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas), junior Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) and sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
The Irish quintet has teamed up as a lineup on nine occasions this season, including at the 6-count-4 The Match Play. That tournament also gave the squad a chance to play on the course that is playing host to the BIG EAST Championship. At that event, Notre Dame put together a 4-0 record en route to claiming the event title.
BIG EAST HISTORY
Notre Dame has participated in each of the past 16 BIG EAST Championships and finished among the top three 13 times since joining the conference. The Irish have won seven titles (1995, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011) to-date, which puts them second in league history behind the nine crowns won by St. John’s from 1979-89. George Thomas served as the head coach for Notre Dame’s first three BIG EAST victories, while John Jasinski guided the Irish to the 2004 title and current head coach has been at the helm of the Notre Dame team for the past three titles in ’05, ’06 and ’11.
In addition to their seven championships, the Irish have finished as tournament runner-up five times (1998 – tie with St. John’s, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010) and taken third-place honors one time (2000).
BIG EAST MEDALISTS
Notre Dame golfers also have won medalist honors five times, trailing only St. John's (seven) and Providence (six). The most recent Irish individual champion was crowned last season when Max Scodro won the BIG EAST Championship with the lone under-par score (212, -1) among the field. Other Notre Dame golfers who were medalists at the conference tournament include: Bill Moore (1995), Todd Vernon (1997), Steve Ratay (2001-three-way tie with Brian Krusoe of Virginia Tech and Andrew Svoboda of St. John's) and Mark Baldwin (2005).
Prior to Scodro’s victory last season, the Irish nearly claimed their fifth such honors in 2010, as Usher and Scodro sat tied for the lead after 54 holes of that year’s tournament, but a playoff crowned Georgetown's Vincenzo Salina as champion.
Live scoring of the BIG EAST Championship can be tracked through Golfstat.com while a complete recap of the Irish following each round of play will be posted to UND.com shortly upon conclusion of the round.