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Men’s Golf: Irish hope to recover at FAU

Eric Prister | Friday, March 27, 2009

The Irish look to bounce back from a disappointing finish in the E-Z-Go Invitational as they head to Delray Beach, Fla., to compete this weekend in the first annual Florida Atlantic University Spring Break Championship.

“We definitely had a hiccup last week, but surprisingly [the team] probably learned a lot more last week than even playing well over Spring Break, so in terms of development we’re still on course,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said.

“We’ve really just focused on trying to learn this college game and get better every week and make good decisions and let the scores take care of themselves.”

Kubinski will travel to Florida with the team after missing last week’s event due to flu-like symptoms.

“It was tough to watch the scores and know that you could probably help the guys out in a small way or two that may add up to a few shots on the scorecard and in the end give them some confidence,” Kubinski said.

The Irish will compete against three teams ranked in the top 50 – No. 7 Illinois, No. 40 Michigan and No. 46 Iowa. Also, six golfers competing in the Spring Break Championship are ranked in the individual top 50, including No. 11 Mike Van Sickle from Marquette.

Sophomore Jeff Chen, who has been at the top of the Irish scorecard in the last two matches, will not be competing in the Spring Break Championship, so Kubinski looks to others to lead the way, especially junior Doug Fortner.

“I really look for [Fortner] to bounce back,” Kubinski said. “He felt like each round he had those two or three holes that just killed him, so if he irons those out he’s going to be around par or better. I think he can do that here.”

Other regulars in the Irish lineup are sophomore Dustin Zhang and freshman Max Scodro, who look to rebound from substandard performances in the E-Z-Go Invitational.

“[Scodro] hit so many greens last week, and had just amazing ball-striking, but he putted as poorly as he has in his career,” Kubinski said. “He’s worked hard in the last few days, and watching him today, he’s rolling the ball very nicely, so he’s very capable.”

Rounding out the lineup for the Irish this weekend are junior Carl Santos-Ocampo and freshman Tom Usher.

“[Santos-Ocampo] is back in his home state. He played very well throughout the summer in tournaments across the state,” Kubinski said. “And it’s going to be breezy here, and [Usher], from England, has a lot of experience playing in those conditions.”

The Irish will compete in the three-day tournament will begin Friday at the Gleneagles Golf Club in Delray Beach.