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Men’s Golf: ND finishes second at Big East

Fran Tolan | Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Notre Dame carded the low round of the Big East championships with a 10-under par 278 Tuesday in Louisville, but the host Cardinals’ 16-stroke lead heading into the final round was too much for the Irish to overcome.

The Irish finished the three-round tournament in second place, 12 strokes behind Louisville.

“It just wasn’t going to happen for us this time,” senior co-captain Cole Isban said. “We just had too little, too late.”

Notre Dame was never able to rebound after finishing the first day in fourth place, eight shots behind the first-place Cardinals. The Irish overcame Marquette and Saint John’s in the second round, but Louisville’s 16-stroke lead left it comfortably ahead of the Irish.

Tuesday’s round may have been may have been the last of the season for the Irish, who hope to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals.

“We’re on the bubble right now, but I’d say we’re on the outside of the bubble,” Isban said.

The fields for three, 27-team regional groupings will be announced May 7, and Isban placed his team’s odds of being selected at “about 10 percent.”

But if the season is indeed over for the Irish, they went out with a strong finish. Three Irish players finished in the top 10 on the individual leaderboard after solid final rounds in Louisville. Isban and fellow senior co-captain Adam Gifford ended up tied for fifth with identical scores of three-under-par 213, earning them each All-Big East honors.

Isban joins former Irish player Mark Baldwin as the only three-time All-Big East selections in program history.

“I’ll be sad if [my career is] over,” Isban said. “But I’m still hoping to see us called for the Regionals.”

Sophomore Josh Sandman fired a 68 in the final round to capture 10th place and a spot on the all-conference team alongside Isban and Gifford. Sandman finished with an overall score of one-under-par 215 for the event.

Junior Greg Rodgers, meanwhile, shot a 69 on the final day of play to tie his career low for a round and moving him into a tie for 11th place for the tournament. Freshman Doug Fortner rounded out the field for the Irish with an eight-over-par 224, the second-best three-day mark of his rookie season.

Daryl Fathauer of Louisville won the individual title on his home course, carding a seven-under-par 209 as he led his team to a team score of 20-under-par 844.