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Men’s Golf: ND will play host this week

Fran Tolan | Monday, October 9, 2006

The Irish will host the Gridiron Golf Classic today and tomorrow on a course they know very well – their own.

After finishing ninth in a field of 12 at Minnesota’s Gopher Invitational Sept. 17, the Irish hope to rebound with a strong showing at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.

The 12-team field includes four squads ranked among the top 50 by Golfweek, including No. 28 Lamar, No. 31 Florida State, No. 44 Augusta State and No. 49 Vanderbilt. But even though these teams are ranked higher than Notre Dame, Irish coach Jim Kubinski believes that his team has a distinct edge.

“The home course gives us a big advantage,” he said. “[This is true] in golf, even more so than other sports.”

Senior co-captain Cole Isban agreed and said playing at Warren is a significant benefit.

“It’s a huge plus to know the course,” he said. “Realistically, I think that this week we have a good chance to win.”

Kubinski said he hopes his team can record one of the top three scores for two rounds of play.

“If you get in the final group Tuesday, there are 18 holes to go and anyone can win,” he said.

The Irish are very balanced, Kubinski said, optimistic that his team will be able to remain near or on top of the leader board throughout the event. Senior Adam Gifford, the team’s number five player, holds the lowest stroke average at Warren.

While the Irish will be on their own course today, they understand the possibility of the three-week break affecting their play in this tournament.

“The problem is we’re not tournament-sharp,” Isban said. “Hopefully, we aren’t too unsettled out there.”

Teams will play two rounds of 18 holes each today, with the opening round teeing off at 9:15 a.m. The second round will begin within an hour of the conclusion of round one. The third and final round will be held tomorrow morning.

The Irish are eager to return to competition in the only event they will host this season.

“We’re excited to be close to school,” said Isban, who will play in his final home tournament. “We’re looking forward to having some fun.”