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MEN’S GOLF: Golfers in fourth at Big East tourney

Chris Doyen | Monday, April 23, 2007

Before the start of the 2007 Big East championships, Irish coach Jim Kubinski believed that all of the pressure rested squarely on Louisville. The top-seeded Cardinals, playing on their home course at the Cardinal Club in Louisville, Ky., handled the pressure with ease in the opening round Sunday, enjoying a six-stroke lead after the first of three rounds. The Irish ended the day within striking distance – they sit in fourth place – only eight strokes behind the Cardinals after scoring a three-over-par 291. St. John’s and Marquette stand between the Irish and Louisville after posting scores of 289 and 290, respectively.Kubinski was expecting big things from his two stars, senior co-captain and All-America candidate Cole Isban and last year’s tournament clincher, sophomore Josh Sandman. The best round of the day, however, came from Irish co-captain, senior Adam Gifford, who is playing in his first-ever Big East championship.Reclaiming the magic from his eighth-place finish at Augusta State earlier this month, Gifford finished the day in third place on the individual leaderboard, shooting a three-under-par 69, tying his career best mark for the third time in the past six weeks. Gifford was the only Irish golfer to end the day in the top-10 and was the only one to shoot under par.Fortunately for the Irish, the closest thing to a bad day anyone had was Isban’s four-over-par 76, which was good enough to keep him in the top half of the individual leaderboard. Sunday’s opening round marked just the second time that Isban’s score did not count toward the team’s total.Sandman contributed a one-over-par 73, good enough to put him in a tie for 13th heading into Monday’s second round. Rounding out the lineup for the Irish were freshman Doug Fortner and junior Greg Rodgers, who shot a two-over-par 74 and a three-over-par 75, respectively.If Gifford maintains his momentum while Isban and Sandman solidify their positions as two of the top golfers in the conference, the Irish could put themselves in excellent position by the end of Monday’s second round. The Irish will tee off at 8 a.m. this morning.