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Irish to play in Windom Memorial

Eric Retter | Monday, October 4, 2004

The Irish will be back in action today, heading to Northwestern University to compete in the Windon Memorial Classic. The Irish will face stiff competition at the Windon, including defending NCAA champion California. Also included in the 16-team field are four other teams that earned bids to the NCAA finals and nine teams that qualified for NCAA regionals, including the Irish. Additionally, seven golfers who earned All-America honors will compete this weekend, including Peter Richardson of Minnesota, last year’s individual champion.”In terms of strength of the field, this is probably one of our toughest ones,” assistant coach Chris Whitten said. “This event is more important [than most of our other ones] because there are more teams from our district. Some of the really good teams from the district are going to be there.” The 54-hole event will run all day today and Tuesday at the Conway Hills Golf Course in Lake Forrest, Ill. Thirty-six holes will be played today, with the final round taking place Tuesday. The Irish will send a relatively experienced lineup to compete this weekend. The team will be rejoined by junior Scott Gustafson, who was injured in a car accident three weeks ago. Gustafson will fill a void the Irish struggled to replace during his absence.”It felt like we were one player short a lot of times,” Whitten said of the time Gustafson was out.Sophomore Cole Isban, who has performed well for the Irish over the past few weeks, will join Gustafson this week. Isban has led the Irish in scoring in both of the first two events this year.Junior Eric Deutsch and freshman Greg Rodgers will also take the links to compete for the Irish. Deutsch has two top 15 finishes in two tournaments this season, and Rodgers is already becoming a reliable member of the team as a freshman. Junior Tommy Balderston will round out the Irish lineup, appearing for the first time as a member of the scoring lineup. Balderston, who was a key member of last year’s team, struggled early on this year, but seems to have found his stroke again this year, winning the John Dallio Invitational last week, which he entered as an individual.”We feel like the guys in the lineup are starting to gel,” Whitten said. “If these guys have their best rounds, we’re getting to the point where we can compete with anyone.”In addition to the Windon, the Irish will send five members to compete as individuals in the Eric Yestingsmeier Invitational, hosted by Ball State. Junior Mark Baldwin, sophomore Shane Sigsbee, senior K.C. Wiseman and freshmen Eddie Peckels and Mike King will all try to get some competition under their collective belts.The Irish will use these tournaments to measure themselves against some strong competition and see where their place is on the national level, at least at this moment.