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Men’s Golf: Irish stumble to 18th in E-Z-Go Invitational

Michael Blasco | Monday, March 23, 2009

After a promising start to the spring season, Notre Dame faltered at the 30th Annual Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational, finishing last in a field of 18 with a 48-over par 912.

No. 16 South Carolina led the elite field with a one-over 865 at the 6,910-yard, par 72 Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, GA.

The Irish stumbled out of the gate, shooting a tournament-worst 311 in the opening round. Notre Dame never quite seemed to get in a rhythm, carding 298 and 303 in the final rounds to finish twelve strokes behind the seventeenth place finisher, No. 43 Augusta State.

Irish head coach Jim Kubinski has emphasized the importance of looking beyond statistics when assessing his young team.

“We’re improving with each event regardless of scores,” Kubinski said. “Our guys are realizing they have the physical skills to compete with any team in the country. They still need to grow in several mental aspects, and they will.”

Sophomore Jeff Chen lead the team in scoring with an 8-over 224 (77-72-75), 50th overall. Chen paced the team for the second tournament in a row after his eleventh-place finish at the Palmas del Mar Invitational last week. Fellow sophomore Dustin Zhang closely trailed Chen with a 9-over 225 (79-72-74) on the tournament. Zhang finished tied-for-55th overall.

Junior Doug Fortner, one of the veterans of the team with senior Josh Sandman out due to injury, finished 87th with a 17-over par 233 (77-77-79). Freshman Freshman Max Scodro shot an 18-over 234, rebounding from his first round 82 with a 77 and a 75 to close the weekend tied-for-88th. At a 19-over 235, sophomore Connor Alan-Lee sunk to 90th with scores of 77, 78, and 80.

The eighteenth-place finish marked Notre Dame’s worst result of the season. The Irish competed without Kubinski, who missed the tournament with flu-like symptoms. Irish assistant coach Steve Colnitis guided the team in his absence.

Notre Dame returns to the links on Friday at the Spring Break Championship at Gleneagles Golf Club in Delray Beach, Fla.