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Men’s Golf: Fortner leads Irish to second title of season

Tim Singler | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Notre Dame fought through horrible weather Friday to claim first-place in the inaugural Brandon Dunes Championship in Bandon, Ore.

The Irish entered the tournament favored among the seven teams entered.

The weather wreaked such havoc upon play that the tournament was shortened from 54 to 36 holes. The Irish opened the tournament with a round of 317 Thursday, good enough to put the team in first place. A tournament-best round of 305 in the second and final round sealed the victory, with Notre Dame finishing 12 strokes ahead of second-place Idaho.

“I was proud of the way our team accepted the target on our backs and went out in ridiculously difficult conditions … rain coming in sideways, hail at times and wind gusting over 40-50 mph at times to earn a win,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said.

The win marked the second title the Irish have claimed this year, along with the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic on Oct. 6.

“Our second win was a great boost for our team as a whole,” Kubinski said. “To come back at this point in our season and earn a victory gives our guys that great feeling again.”

Senior Doug Fortner led Notre Dame, claiming individual medalist honors for his first career win. Fortner opened the tournament with a first-round 77, putting him in third place.

A second-round 73 landed Fortner a final score of 8-over and the victory, and it also earned him recognition as the Big East’s golfer of the week.

“[Fortner] came back this semester working harder than he ever has,” Kubinski said. “The results are no surprise to me.”

Senior Josh Sandman finished two strokes behind Fortner to claim third place. Sandman shot an even-par 72 in the second round, tying for the lowest round in the tournament.

Sophomore Tom Usher claimed ninth-place at 16-over, and sophomores Max Scodro and Chris Walker rounded out the Irish scoring by tying for 19th place.

Notre Dame tees off next on March 26-28 in the Spring Break Championship in Delray Beach, Fla.