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Men’s Golf: ND heads west for fall break

Fran Tolan | Friday, October 13, 2006

After a second place finish as host of the inaugural Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic Monday and Tuesday, Notre Dame will travel to La Quinta, Calif. next week to compete in The Prestige at the famed PGA West facility Oct. 16 and 17.

The tournament will be the third for a young Notre Dame team that began to hit its stride with a runner-up finish last week. The Irish defeated several teams ranked higher than them coming into the Gridiron Classic, but are not completely satisfied with their results.

“Second isn’t what we’re shooting for,” said senior co-captain Cole Isban. “But I think the second-place finish will be a good thing for us. It should be great motivation and will help us this coming weekend.”

After a poor ninth-place showing in Minnesota’s Gopher Invitational to start the season, the Irish have now come close to victory and believe they can compete with some of the stronger teams in the NCAA.

“If we play our best we think we’ll be up [at the top of the leaderboard] this weekend,” Isban said.

The event will be co-hosted by UC-Davis and Stanford, which won the Gopher Invitational Sept. 17.

“There’s going to be a strong field,” Isban said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

The Irish finished fifth last year at The Prestige, played on a course designed by PGA star Greg Norman. Isban believes his team will be close to top form and expects a better result this year.

“We’ve just finished a tournament so we’re more ready than we were [for the Gridiron Classic].”

After the Gopher Invitational, the Irish were forced to endure a three-week layoff before resuming play last weekend. Being rusty will not be an excuse in California.

“We won’t have taken such a long break this time,” Isban said. “That will definitely help us.”

In addition to Isban, the Irish roster for The Prestige features senior co-captain Adam Gifford, junior Greg Rodgers, sophomore Josh Sandman and freshman Doug Fortner.