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MEN’S GOLF: Team journeys to Durham

Bobby Griffin | Friday, October 7, 2005

The Irish will travel to Durham, North Carolina to take part in the Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic this weekend – the same place where head coach Jim Kubinski coached for a year and a half before coming to Notre Dame.

Despite the return to his old team, Kubinski is not thinking about the homecoming, instead putting emphasis on what his team needs to do to win.

“I’m going to approach it as business as usual,” Kubinski said. “We can’t have any distractions, and I think that would be kind of a distraction. We’re just going to go there with business as usual.”

If Notre Dame is going to be successful this weekend, it will have to putt well.

“The only thing that kept us from winning last week is that we didn’t make as many putts,” Kubinski said. “I think we [have to] putt well, and I think we will because it’s our second tournament in a row in the south east. If the putts drop, I think we are hitting the ball as well as anyone in the country.”

The same team that traveled to last weekend’s Shoal Creek Intercollegiate will be heading to North Carolina.

Scott Gustafson, Mark Baldwin, Eric Deutsch, Cole Isban and Greg Rodgers will compete against some of the top ACC and Big Ten schools in the nation.

“With the field coming, we got a lot of good teams playing there,” Kubinski said. “I think you’re going to have to shoot some good numbers, you’re not going to be able to just kind of put it in cruise control. We’re going to have to play hard, and we’re going to have to play well.”

Duke, North Carolina and NC State are three of the ACC teams that will be competing. Big Ten teams Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern and Minnesota will also play at the course that Kubinski has a lot of appreciation for.

“I think it’s a great golf course,” Kubinski said. “It’s a great test of golf for us.”

The Irish will look to Isban to continue to lead them this weekend. Isban has been hot lately, with an average under 71 since he shot an 80 in the opening round of the Gopher Invitational.

“He’s really come into his own and definitely had a breakout week last week,” Kubinski said.

Isban finished in first place at Shoal Creek after firing rounds of 69-69-72. He lost in a playoff to East Tennessee State’s Rhys Davis, a Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup player and Tennessee’s Jonathon Mount.

Notre Dame will play Sunday and Monday before returning to South Bend on Monday night.