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ND Men’s Golf: Team opens spring season

Joe Meixell | Thursday, February 28, 2008

Notre Dame will travel to California during spring break to participate in the USC Collegiate Invitational, hosted by the North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif.

The Irish will look to improve upon their 15th-place finish at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational and hope to gain some momentum going into the second half of the spring season. The relatively young team – eight out of 12 players are underclassmen – will gain valuable experience in California. When they return, only three tournaments will remain before the Big East Championship.

The underclassmen combo of sophomore Doug Fortner and freshman standout Tyler Hock will need to step up on Monday if the Irish hope to compete with the tough teams of USC and Oregon State. Fortner and Hock currently lead the team with the lowest scoring averages (72.77 and 73.20, respectively) and will look to continue their recent streak of strong play.

The most important factor this week, however, will be the play of junior Josh Sandman. Sandman had a strong showing at the Hayt Invitational, finishing at a tie for 29th, and will look to continue his steady play in hopes to garner a second All-Big East award this spring.

“If he plays with poise and confidence and stays in the present, handling the emotions that all players must deal with, Josh will do great things,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how Josh will take the reins of our No. 1 spot and anchoring our lineup. He has the talent to mix it up with the top players.”

The USC Collegiate Invitational will last all day on March 3 and 4, after which the team will take a 10-day break and resume play March 14 at the Schenkel E-Z-GO Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.