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    Prestige at PGA WEST Notes

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    Oct. 14, 2005

    2005 Prestige at PGA WEST

    Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 17-18, 2005 7:30 a.m. (PDT) both days Greg Norman Course at PGA WEST Par 72/7,156 yards La Quinta, Calif.

    Notre Dame Heads West For Final Two Fall Tournaments Following its third consecutive solid outing at last week's Coca-Cola Duke Classic, Notre Dame travels to the West Coast to close out its 2005 fall schedule, starting Monday and Tuesday at The Prestige at PGA WEST in La Quinta, Calif.

    The Irish currently are receiving 36 votes in the GCAA/Bridgestone Top 25 poll and own a 292.22 stroke average, built in part by three consecutive top-six finishes and by carding a 291 or lower in six of their last seven rounds. Notre Dame also has three players ranked among the top 100 according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, led by junior Cole Isban, who is at No. 35 and holds a 72.78 stroke average. Senior Mark Baldwin is ranked 61st and leads the team with a 71.89 stroke average, while senior Scott Gustafson is 96th in the nation and owns a 72.44 stroke average.

    Dates and Times Teams will play two rounds (36 holes) on Monday, with the opening round teeing off via a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. PDT (9:30 a.m. EST/CDT in South Bend). The second round will begin immediately following the conclusion of round one. Competitors will then return to the course Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. PDT for the final round, once again using a shotgun start.

    Tournament Results Live scoring will be available for The Prestige at PGA WEST, courtesy of Golfstat (www.golfstat.com). Complete results following each day's action also will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com). In addition, the latest information on the Irish is available on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000). Callers should select option #9, then press #2 for the latest information on the tournament, as well as weather or scheduling delays.

    The Tournament Format A total of 18 five-man teams (90 participants, with the possibility of some teams fielding additional golfers on an individual basis) will be participating in The Prestige at PGA WEST. 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 total.

    The Teams Aside from Notre Dame and tournament co-hosts Stanford and UC Davis, the remaining teams in field for The Prestige at PGA WEST are: Brigham Young, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Northern Colorado, Ohio State, Oregon, Pacific, Pepperdine, Texas, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and Yale.

    According to the latest GCAA/Bridgestone Top 25 poll (released Oct. 7), three Top 25 teams will be competing in this week's tournament - No. 9 Brigham Young, No. 13 UCLA and No. 16 Texas.

    Besides Notre Dame (36 votes, tied for 33rd if the poll were extended), seven other squads presently are receiving votes in that poll - Kansas, Stanford, Illinois, Colorado and Ohio State. Combined, these nine teams make up half of the field at The Prestige at PGA WEST.

    Meanwhile, the latest ratings in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index (as of Oct. 8) have been unveiled and nine of the top 50 teams will be competing at PGA WEST. Leading the way is No. 8 UCLA, followed by 14th-ranked Brigham Young, No. 18 Texas, No. 20 Notre Dame, No. 21 Colorado, No. 22 Pepperdine, No. 31 Ohio State, No. 41 Illinois and No. 45 Stanford.

    In addition, the latest Golfstat rankings of the 2005-06 season were released Oct. 11 and there are five of this week's participants appearing in that service's Top 25. Brigham Young is ranked 10th, while Pepperdine, Colorado and Texas hold down the No. 12-14 spots, respectively. UCLA also is appearing in the rankings at No. 23.

    Through its first three tournaments of the season, Notre Dame has seen just two of the teams it will face this week at PGA WEST, but it was successful on both occasions. The Irish defeated Stanford by 14 strokes at the season-opening Gopher Invitational, then finished 24 shots ahead of Ohio State at last week's Coca-Cola Duke Classic.

    The Course The Greg Norman Course is the newest of the six championship-caliber layouts at the 2,200-acre PGA WEST development in La Quinta, Calif., located minutes outside Palm Springs. The resort opened in 1984 and has played host to numerous PGA Tour events during his two decades of service, including the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, where David Duval tied a Tour record and won the event with a final-round 59 in 1999.

    Measuring out at 7,156 yards, the par-72 Greg Norman Course lies in a seabed 40 feet below sea level, surrounded by an immense crescent of terra-cotta mountains. The course teems with purple, white and yellow wildflowers, while the mix of tall and short native grasses produce different shades of green running almost to silver. The grass covers just 60 acres of tight fairways that taper toward the greens with nine ponds covering 18 acres.

    Last Tournament - Coca-Cola Duke Classic Notre Dame shot a one-over par 865 (291-286-288) to finish sixth at the 15-team Coca-Cola Duke Classic, which concluded Oct. 10 in Durham, N.C., at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club (par 72/7,045 yards). Notre Dame's three-round score of 865 not only was a season-low, but also the third-lowest in school history and best-ever mark on a par-72 course.

    Notre Dame now has fired a 291 or lower in six of its last seven rounds, and has placed sixth or better in each of its three tournaments during the 2005 fall season. The Irish currently have a 292.22 stroke average this year, which stands as the second-best season-opening stroke average by a Notre Dame men's golf team in the past 40 years (since the program began playing tournaments instead of dual matches).

    Notre Dame began the final round 15 strokes out of the lead, but needed only nine holes on Monday to trim that deficit to three shots, going out in seven-under par. However, the skies over Durham then opened and caused a one-hour rain delay, and following the resumption of play, the Irish immediately handed three strokes back to the field and could not quite regain their earlier momentum. The host school, fifth-ranked Duke, carded a 10-under par 854 to win the tournament title by one shot over Coastal Carolina and Northwestern, with 17th-ranked Minnesota (860) and Charlotte (863) rounding out the top five.

    In the individual competition, Notre Dame and Duke were the only two schools to have two golfers finish among the top 10 in the 81-player field. Senior Mark Baldwin (Laconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep), ranked 50th in the nation by Golfweek, paced the Irish contingent, tying for sixth place with a career-low six-under par 210 (70-72-68), matching the second-lowest 54-hole score in school history and one stroke under his previous personal best that he set at the 2003 Nelson Invitational.

    Senior Scott Gustafson (Eden Prairie,Minn./Eden Prairie) backed up his No. 75 national ranking by Golfweek with a tie for eighth place at five-under par 211 (70-69-72), his best three-round score snce he fired a career-low 210 (-6) at the 2003 SMU/Stonebridge Invitational.

    Gustafson also collected his seventh career top-10 finish and first in tournament play since he placed ninth while competing as an individual at the 2005 Irish Spring Invitational. Junior Cole Isban (South Bend,Ind./Mishawaka Marian), the nation's 31st-ranked player according to Golfweek, ended the tournament tied for 37th place at five-over par 221 (76-71-74). Meanwhile, sophomore Greg Rodgers (Phoenix, Md./St. Paul's School) tied for 54th place at eight-over par 224 (76-74-74), and senior Eric Deutsch (Rochester, Minn./Lourdes) struggled on the final day, finishing in a 79th-place deadlock at 16-over par 232 (75-77-80).

    Going To The Chapel Notre Dame head coach Jim Kubinski could be excused if he appears a bit harried upon arrival at this week's Prestige at PGA WEST. The second-year Irish skipper traveled separately from his team because he was getting married on Saturday, Oct. 15, to the former Sarah Struthers in her hometown of Durham, N.C.

    Ranking File Notre Dame's current stockpile of 36 votes in the GCAA/Bridgestone Top 25 Poll marks its highest position in that survey in recent memory. The Irish made their initial appearance in the poll last year, garnering six votes, before opening up this season with three consecutive top-six finishes. Among the teams Notre Dame has beaten so far this season are two squads currently appearing in the GCAA rankings - No. 6 Florida and No. 23 Alabama. The Irish now have beaten seven Top 25 teams since Jim Kubinski took over as head coach in January.

    Thumbnails On The Irish Lineup Cole Isban (72.78 stroke average; third on team) - Ranked No. 35 in nation by Golfweek (as of Oct. 8) posted career bests with first-place tie and 210 (-6) score at 2005 Shoal Creek Intercollegiate Â? second on team with five rounds at or below par Â? has started 28 of a possible 29 tournaments in his two-plus seasons at Notre Dame (only miss: 2004 Fossum/TaylorMade Invitational when starters were rested prior to NCAA Central Regional) Â? has been exceptionally reliable, as 73 of his 79 collegiate rounds (.924) have counted towards the team score - the third-best percentage by an Irish golfer in the past 15 seasons (1990-present) Â? career 74.47 stroke average ranks third in school history (74.43 by Charles Thurn, 1956-58) Â? led team with 74.17 stroke average last year (sixth-lowest season mark in school history) Â? 2005 PING/All-Midwest Region selection (first Irish player to earn regional or national accolades since 1980) Â? two-time all-BIG EAST Conference honoree (2004,2005) Â? has qualified for past two U.S. Amateur Championships Â? placed second in 84-man field at last year's Prestige at PGA WEST, carding a 219 (+3).

    Scott Gustafson (72.44; second on team) - 96th-ranked player in nation by Golfweek (as of Oct. 8) Â? third on squad with four rounds at or under par Â? led team with 218 (+2) at Gopher Invitational, his 12th career team-leading finish (fourth in school history) Â? tacked on eighth-place tie at last week's Coca-Cola Duke Classic with 211 (-5) for his seventh career top-10 finish and best showing and score since a third-place finish (210) at the 2003 SMU/Stonebridge Invitational Â? also played 100th collegiate round in final circuit at Gopher Invitational Â? second among Irish veterans with 75.29 career stroke average, which is 10th in school history Â? 2003 all-BIG EAST selection. Greg Rodgers (75.50; fourth on team) - Tied for 57th (229, +13) in his season debut at Shoal Creek Intercollegiate Â? shared 54th place (224, +8) at Coca-Cola Duke Classic Â? had three top-10finishes during his freshman season Â? earned team-high scoring honors on two occasions (Windon Memorial Classic, Irish Spring Invitational) Â? best finish was a tie for 14th at the Irish Spring Invitational Â? fired a career-low 69 in the second round at the Windon Memorial Classic Â? career-best 216 came at the 2004 Nelson Invitational (par-69 course under renovation).

    Eric Deutsch (76.33; fifth on team) - Wily veteran who has come up big in clutch situations Â? owns 76.36 career stroke average Â? has four career top-10 finishes and two top-five placements Â? was Notre Dame's top finisher at NCAA Central Regional the past two seasons (tie for 27th in 2004; tie for 20th in 2005) Â? final-round 68 at '05 Central Regional was a school record and helped Irish charge into contention for berth in NCAA Championships (ND finished two shots out of a playoff) Â? two-time all-BIG EAST selection (2004, 2005) Â? was one of three Notre Dame golfers to qualify for 2005 U.S. Amateur.

    Mike King (80.67; second on team) - Stumbled a bit in season debut, tying for 58th place (242, +26) at the Gopher Invitational Â? started nine tournaments last year as a freshman, including BIG EAST Championship and NCAA Central Regional Â? had three top-10 finishes as a rookie, including tie for ninth at the BIG EAST Championship.

    Next Up For The Irish Notre Dame will close out its 2005 fall schedule Oct. 31-Nov. 1 when it takes part in the CordeValle Collegiate at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif. The tournament will be hosted by 13th-ranked UCLA, although it will be played in northern California, just outside of San Jose.

    Besides Notre Dame and UCLA, other featured teams in the field will include No. 12 Augusta State (the defending NCAA Central Regional champion), No. 16 Texas and No. 18 USC.



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