Men's Golf

Notre Dame Welcomes Strong Field For Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic

Sept. 29, 2007

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Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic
Sunday-Tuesday, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2007
8:30 a.m. (ET) each day
Warren Golf Course
Notre Dame, Ind.
Par 70/7,011 yards

Notre Dame Hosts Strong Field At Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic
Several of the nation's top men's golf programs will make their way to South Bend this weekend as Notre Dame plays host to the second edition of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic at the Warren Golf Course on the Notre Dame campus. The tournament will consist of single rounds Sunday through Tuesday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (ET) each day.

The Irish are coming off a solid fourth-place tie at their season-opening Gopher Invitational on Sept. 15-16. Notre Dame posted a score of 891 (+27) and finished one shot out of second place, while also defeating several highly-ranked squads including SMU, Michigan State and Minnesota. Senior tri-captain Greg Rodgers earned a career-best seventh-place tie at three-over par 219 to pace the Irish effort.

Quoting Coach Kubinski...
"We're thrilled to be hosting the second Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic (FIGGC). The event was so well received last year and born of the Isban family's great passion for golf and Notre Dame. Our Warren Golf Course is a tremendous test, having hosted an NCAA Regional and multiple BIG EAST Championships.There's no better evidence of this than our inaugural champion, Justin Harding of Lamar, having won with a three-over 213.



"Our lineup will be basically the same as we utilized in Minnesota with Carl Santos-Ocampo subbing in this week for freshman Connor Alan-Lee. Connor played two great rounds at the Gopher Invitational, but given Carl's track record here at The Warren (a near-Top 10 last year) and solid play this past week in qualifying, we felt Carl might give us an edge.

"I look for Josh (Sandman) to bounce back from a tough opener and give us three good scores. He should be a factor come Tuesday afternoon. Of course, I'm not sure there's a player anywhere striking the ball better than Greg Rodgers. He's hitting around 16 greens per round -- just fantastic stuff. I also like the way Eddie Peckels and Doug Fortner are playing. They're both very, very talented and seem to be rounding into form.

"We'll try to get into that final pairing on Tuesday and trust that our preparation and course knowledge will allow us an opportunity to get a win."

Dates and Times
Teams will play single rounds (18 holes) from Sunday through Tuesday, beginning each day with split-tee starts from the first and 10th tees at 8:30 a.m. (ET) and continuing at 10-minute intervals. For Sunday's first round, Notre Dame's starting five is grouped with players from Michigan State and Iowa, with the first threesome set to tee off at 9:20 a.m. (ET) from the first tee.

Pairings and tee times for Monday's second round and Tuesday's final round will be based upon the team standings at the conclusion of the previous round. All times and formats are tentative and subject to change.

Following The Irish
Live in-progress scoring from the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic will be available through the Golfstat web site by clicking here. In addition, complete results following each day's action will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site ( The latest information from the tournament, including results, scheduling updates and weather delays, also will be available on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000).

Results also will be available via the Irish ALERT text-message system, which provides fans with regular updates on Notre Dame's progress at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic through text messages sent to their cell phone. For more information or to sign up, click here.

The Tournament Format
A total of 12 five-man teams (60 participants, plus 15 additional golfers competing on an individual basis) will be taking part in the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic. Conventional collegiate golf team scoring rules will apply, with the lowest four scores in the five-man lineup for each round counting toward the team total. Scores by golfers competing on an individual basis do not count to the team score.

The Teams
Besides tournament host Notre Dame, the remaining teams in the field for the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic are: Arkansas, Baylor, College of Charleston, Colorado State, Georgetown, Iowa, Lamar, Michigan State, North Florida, San Diego and Virginia.

According to the Sept. 19 edition of the Golf World/Nike Golf Top 25 coaches' poll, two ranked teams -- No. 21 Lamar and No. 24 Michigan State -- are scheduled to take part in this weekend's tournament. Two other teams received votes in the latest coaches' survey -- Baylor (19 votes; 33rd place) and Indiana (17 votes; 34th place).

Meanwhile, the Sept. 25 ratings in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index show that five of the top 50 teams will be in town for the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic. Leading the way is No. 17 Lamar, followed by No. 25 Michigan State and No. 26 Indiana. Also on the first page of the Golfweek ratings are No. 27 Notre Dame and No. 39 Arkansas. Baylor is the next closest team in the polls, currently standing outside the Golfweek Top 50 at No. 70.

In addition, the final 2006-07 Golfstat rankings indicate two of this weekend's participants appeared in that service's Top 50 at the close of the last season. Third-ranked Lamar set the bar, with No. 31 Michigan State the other one of last year's top 50 teams in the '07 Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic field, although five other participating squads were knocking on the door at the end of last year -- No. 53 Colorado State, No. 54 Baylor, No. 60 North Florida, No. 61 Notre Dame and No. 65 Virginia.

Although this is just its second tournament of the season, Notre Dame already has faced five of the other 11 teams in this weekend's Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, amassing a combined 2-2-1 (.500) record against those clubs. The Irish record vs. the rest of the tournament competition breaks down as follows: Arkansas (0-1), Indiana (0-0-1), Lamar (0-1), Michigan State (1-0) and San Diego (1-0).

The Course
A par-70, 7,011-yard layout designed by PGA Tour veteran (and 2002 World Golf Hall of Famer) Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the Warren Golf Course on the Notre Dame campus is based on a traditional walkable Irish and American courses favored around the turn of the 20th century. The course winds its way through 250 wooded acres and is based on subtleties rather than special effects, including small, undulating greens and 88 strategically-placed bunkers which were recently renovated as part of a course-wide improvement project.

The Warren Golf Course has been rated one of the nation's top 15 collegiate courses by Golf Digest (Sept. 2005 issue) and has played host to several championship events. Among the more notable tournaments to be played at the course since its debut seven years ago are: the 2005 NCAA Central Regional, two U.S. Amateur sectional qualifiers (2004, 2007), three Western Amateur qualifiers (2005-07), five BIG EAST Conference Men's Golf Championships (2000, 2002-05) and three BIG EAST Women's Championships (2003-05).

Noting The Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic

  • This is the second edition of Notre Dame's home tournament. The Irish finished second in last year's inaugural event at 889 (+49), winding up 29 shots back of champion Lamar. Three-time all-region selection Cole Isban was Notre Dame's top finisher, tying for runner-up honors at 214 (+4), one shot back of Lamar's Justin Harding, who won with a birdie chip on his final hole. Both Lamar and Harding are back to defend their team and individual crowns this year.
  • Sophomore Carl Santos-Ocampo registered one of the highlights of last year's Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, carding an ace on the par-3 136-yard fourth hole (with an 8-iron) during the opening round.
  • Two members of this weekend's Notre Dame lineup -- Santos-Ocampo and junior Josh Sandman -- tied for 11th place at last year's Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic. Both golfers shot a 12-over par 222, with Santos-Ocampo competing as an individual participant.
  • Speaking of unattached golfers, the remaining six players on the Notre Dame roster will compete as individuals at this weekend's tournament. In addition, Baylor and North Florida will field one individual participant, while Holy Cross (Ind.) College -- an NAIA member located across the street from the Notre Dame campus -- will have its six-man team competed as individuals during the tournament.
  • Last Time Out: Gopher Invitational (Sept. 15-16)
    Notre Dame carded an 18-over par 306 during the final round of the Gopher Invitational, tying for fourth place with a 54-hole total of 891 (+27/294-291-306) at their season-opening event on Sept. 15-16. Lamar, ranked 16th in the preseason Golf World/Nike Coaches Top 25 poll, posted a four-over par 868 to win the tournament, which was played at the par-72, 7,020-yard Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn.

    Senior tri-captain Greg Rodgers (Phoenix, Md.) paced Notre Dame with a three-over par 219 (69-74-76) to finish in a career-best tie for seventh among the field of 60 golfers. He was joined in the top 20 by his sophomore teammate Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif.), who registered a 224 (76-74-74) to conclude the event in 20th place.

    Freshman Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.) entered the final day at even par and in ninth place, yet posted a third-round total of 84 to finish in a three-way tie for 26th with a 12-over par 228 (74-70-84). Senior tri-captain Eddie Peckels (Pinehurst, N.C.) shot a 231 (75-80-76) for the Irish and tied for 37th. Junior Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C.) rounded out the Notre Dame lineup as he carded a 232 (79-73-80) to tie for 39th overall.

    Captains Courageous
    Notre Dame's three seniors have been selected as team captains for the 2007-08 season. Mike King, Eddie Peckels and Greg Rodgers all are serving in that capacity for the first time in their careers.

    The .500 Rule
    According to a new rule passed by the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Committee, teams must finish their season with a winning head-to-head record (i.e. better than .500) in order to be considered for a berth in postseason play.

    Things You Should Know About The Irish

  • Notre Dame has won six BIG EAST Conference titles in its 12-year league affiliation, stringing together three consecutive crowns from 1995-97 and again from 2004-06. The Irish also have made 33 NCAA postseason appearances in their history (most recently in 2006 with a trip to the NCAA East Regional), winning the 1944 national title and finishing second in 1937.
  • Notre Dame has taken its play to new levels in recent years, posting three of the top seven single-season stroke averages in school history since head coach Jim Kubinski took over as head coach in January 2005. The Irish also have carded nine of the top 13 tournament scores (54 holes) in program history during the Kubinski era, including a school-record 842 (-22) at the 2006 BIG EAST Championship.
  • Notre Dame's impressive resurgence of late has been augmented by its play against nationally-ranked opponents. In fact, since Kubinski arrived under the Golden Dome, the Irish have defeated 13 Top 25 teams (according to Golfweek) and posted 13 top-five tournament finishes, including three event titles (most recently the '06 BIG EAST Championship).
  • Kubinski himself was nominated for a place on the 2007 GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teachers List, after being placed into consideration by the Indiana Section of the PGA. Approximately 400-500 people are chosen annually from the 30,000 PGA professionals nationwide for a few select places on the GOLF Magazine list, whose membership includes such notables as Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and Rick Smith.
  • Next Up: Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Oct. 7-8)
    It's a quick turnaround for Notre Dame, which heads to Durham, N.C., on Oct. 7-8 for the Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic. The Irish played in this event two years ago, finishing sixth at one-over par 865, a 54-hole score that remains tied for seventh-lowest in school history.

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