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MEN’S GOLF: Seniors pair up to lead team on links

Bobby Griffin | Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cole Isban has been carrying much of the weight for the Irish all season, but this weekend at the Coca-Cola Duke Classic, a different pair of Notre Dame golfers led the team to a sixth place finish.

Senior Mark Baldwin led the Irish with a three-day 210 (70-72-68), and senior Scott Gustafson finished just one stroke behind Baldwin, with 211 strokes (70-69-72). Baldwin’s final-day 68 tied the Notre Dame 54-hole record en route to a sixth-place overall finish.

It was Baldwin’s sixth career top-10 finish in his collegiate career. Gustafson finished in eighth place at five-under for the tournament.

Notre Dame’s 1-over 865 (291-286-288) was the lowest three-round score of the season and the school’s third lowest score ever.

The sixth place finish was impressive considering the field that competed in Durham, N.C. The teams Irish head coach Jim Kubinski said prior would be tough played well.

“This wasn’t our best performance, but I’d call it slightly above average,” Kubinski told UND.com. “This was the third tournament in a row where we faced a really strong field and we stood up to the challenge well. But we’re not making the run that all good teams go on when they win these kinds of tournaments.”

No. 5 Duke won the event with a 10-under 854, besting second-place Coastal Carolina by one stroke.

Northwestern, No. 17 Minnesota and Charlotte were the other three teams ahead of Notre Dame, respectively.

Coastal Carolina’s Dustin Johnson finished 15-under par with three consecutive rounds of 67, edging Michigan State’s Ryan Brehm and Minnesota’s Antii Ahokas by seven strokes.

Following the tournament, Kubinski felt Notre Dame played well but not well enough to win.

“We’re just a couple of mistakes here and there away from taking that next step to where we want this program to be,” Kubinski said to UND.com.

While Baldwin and Gustafson finished in the top 10, Isban struggled on the first day and had to make up for it in the second two rounds. Isban finished No. 37 overall after shooting a five-over 221 (76-71-74).

Sophomore Greg Rodgers shot a 224 (76-74-74), and senior Eric Deutsch finished with a 232 (75-77-80).

So far this season, Notre Dame has a 292.22 stroke average, the second best average in the last 40 years for the Irish.

Notre Dame will travel to La Quinta, Calif. on Oct. 17-18 to play in The Prestige on the Greg Norman Course at PGA West.