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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Irish finish ninth at UNCG

The Irish will enter the off season on a disappointing note after sliding from a tie for first into a ninth-place finish at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship Tuesday.

Notre Dame concluded its fall season with a final-round score of 291 at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Teeing off later than originally scheduled after an overnight frost advisory, the Irish continued their fall down the leaderboard in the third round.

Notre Dame started Tuesday tied for sixth, but dropped behind LSU, Central Florida and Wake Forest in the final 18 holes.

The Irish, who were tied for first after the opening round, finished 20 strokes back of first-place Louisville. After a rough first round, the Cardinals ended with rounds of seven-under and nine-under to finish at four-under par for the tournament.

Finishing three strokes behind Louisville was Mississippi State, which closed with a strong final round of 11-under. Central Florida, North Carolina and Kent State rounded out the top five.

The tournament's individual medalist was Louisville's Derek Fathauer, who shot a total of 10-under over three rounds. Fathauer defeated his nearest competitor, Kent State's Brett Cairns, by five strokes.

Irish junior Josh Sandman entered the final round tied for second at four-under, but fell far out of contention with a final round of 77. Sandman finished tied for 15th with a total of one-over.

The final round score was uncharacteristic for Sandman, who was the top Notre Dame scorer in the fall season. The five-over score was just the third time in 13 rounds that Sandman posted a score over 73, and just the second time Sandman's score did not contribute to the team's round.

The second-lowest scorer for Notre Dame was senior captain Greg Rodgers, who tied for 25th place at four-over. Finishing one stroke behind Rodgers was sophomore Doug Fortner, who tied for 29th. Fortner was the most consistent Irish starter in the tournament, firing rounds of 74, 74 and 73.

Sophomore Kyle Willis shot a total score of nine-over 225. Willis tied for 49th in his second start of the season for the Irish.

Freshman Tyler Hock finished last among the Irish starters, tying for 63rd at 12-over. Hock finished the tournament on a positive note, however, with a final round of 72 that featured six birdies and a costly quadruple bogey.

Despite the disappointing finish, the Irish gained postseason standing by defeating No. 25 Arkansas by 10 shots. Notre Dame also finished a single stroke behind No. 11 Wake Forest.

The Irish will not return to action until February, when the team begins its spring session at the John Hayt Invitational in Florida and prepares for conference play.