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Men’s Golf:Team travels to Vanderbilt

Michael Bryan | Friday, October 19, 2007

Notre Dame will look to continue its recent success this weekend, playing in the Mason Rudolph Invitational at Vanderbilt University.

The three-round tournament will begin Sunday and end Tuesday, with one round being played each day. Competitors will play all three rounds on the par-72 Vanderbilt Legends Club Ironhorse Course. The course, designed by Tom Kite and Bob Cupp, plays at 7,190 yards.

“It’s a very fair course off the tee that will offer some birdie opportunities,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “The Legends Club is always in great shape and will serve as a perfect venue for this week’s event.”

Last year, Ole Miss won the Invitational with a two-over-par 876. The Rebels defeated Vanderbilt and North Florida by eight shots, and Tennessee-Chattanooga placed fourth.

The Irish enter the tournament fresh off best performance of the young season at the Duke Golf Classic. Notre Dame placed third of twelve teams in Durham, N.C., vaulting past a quarter of the field in the final round.

“The guys have a great deal of confidence at this point,” Kubinski said. “It was nice to get four good scores for the most part; the goal will be getting five in contention.”

The Irish had four starters finish in the top 20 at Duke, with freshman Tyler Hock and junior Josh Sandman tying for No. 11 at three-under. Hock, starting for the first time in his career, was seven-under in the final two rounds.

Senior captain Greg Rodgers also had a solid tournament for the Irish, tying for 15th at two-under par.

Sophomore Doug Fortner continued his exceptional play this season, taking his third top-20 finish in as many events. Fortner tied for 20th at one-over par, despite bogeying five of the last six holes in the first round.

“We came out very focused and got some very solid scores from one through four in the lineup,” Kubinski said. “That’s the kind of depth we’ve been looking for during the past year or so, and we’ll look to keep building on this the rest of the season.”

Notre Dame opened the tournament with a first-round of one-under, placing the Irish in seventh. After dropping several places midway through Sunday’s second round, Notre Dame rallied into sixth place with several key birdies in the last few holes. The Irish passed North Carolina-Wilmington and Eastern Carolina in the last four holes, and their hot play continued in a strong finish.

There will be one change in the starting lineup for the Irish this weekend, with sophomore Kyle Willis entering in place of senior Eddie Peckels.

“Kyle is a steady player and excellent putter,” Kubinski said. “I think he’ll give us a couple nice rounds and a good boost.”