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Men’s Golf: Stuff of legends

Mike Gotimer | Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Doug Fortner, whose 67 last month at Ireland’s famed Ballybunion has become the stuff of legend, conjured up a little magic again Monday.

The Notre Dame junior’s two-under 69 catapulted both himself and the team to the top of the standings after the first round at the Saint Mary’s (California) Invitational at the Poppy Hills Golf Club in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The Irish lead the field of 17 with a four-over 288, four strokes ahead of UT-Arlington (292) at the par 71, 6,639-yard course. The University of San Francisco rounds out the top three with a 293, trailing the Mavericks by one stroke.

Notre Dame coach Jim Kubinski was heartened by the progress Fortner made during the summer and early going of the season.

“Doug [Fortner] is rounding into form,” Kubinski said. “I think he’ll be on a mission this [week]. He has worked very hard on his overall game these last couple weeks and is showing good signs with the flat stick.”

Fortner’s 69 placed him in a two-way tie for first with UT-Arlington junior Michael Van DeVenter. Trailing Fortner is Irish freshman Max Scodro, whose fourth-place finish at the John Dallio Memorial last week bumped him up to the varsity squad. Scodro carded an even par-71, good enough for seventh overall.

“Max [Scodro] is coming off an impressive … finish in his first college event,” Kubinski said. “He’s an upbeat young guy with a great deal of talent. I think he’ll give us a very positive vibe this week.”

Sophomores Connor Alan-Lee and Jeff Chen each tallied three-over 74 to put themselves in a tie for 26th place overall, while fellow sophomore Tyler Hock added a 75 to round out the Notre Dame squad.

“We’re all very motivated,” Kubinski said. “We have something to prove this weekend. We weren’t satisfied with our results out at [the USF Olympic Club Intercollegiate]. I know we’ll give it a great, great effort at Poppy Hills … I look for us to be competing at the top of the board by Tuesday afternoon.”

The second round concluded late Monday evening with Notre Dame tied for fourth with UT-Arlington. Fortner posted a 70 to fall into second place behind San Francisco’s Domingo Jojola who scored a 66.