After winning their first two matches on the weekend, the Irish fell short of the championship at “The Match Play,” losing in the final match against Louisville 3.5 to 2.5 to finish in second place on the weekend, ending their fall season.
“I’m happy we bounced back from our last two tournaments,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “They bounced back this weekend and got two nice wins. Honestly, I wish we could have played at one 100 percent healthy, because we were so close. Overall, I was very proud of the efforts we put in, and how hard they tried out there.”
By the final day of the tournament, the Irish had five of their six players battling flu-like symptoms, but were able to keep things close with Louisville.
Battling the most severe of the illnesses, fifth-year senior Josh Sandman, after somewhat struggling in the first two matches of the tournament, was the only Irish player to win outright against Louisville.
He defeated Chris Biuso 2 and 1 after tying his other two matches in “The Match Play.”
“Josh played with what we think is H1N1, but he at least had flu-like symptoms,” Kubinski said. “For him to get a win and two halves with a 103 temperature was a Herculean effort by him.”
Sophomore Tom Usher, who played in his first match of the season after recovering from off-season surgery, had the best record for the Irish, finishing with two wins and a tie over the weekend. Two other sophomores, Max Scodro and Chris Walker, also had winning records for the Irish.
“I’m happy to see the three sophomores really step up and showing that they can contend with all the best players in the country,” Kubinski said. “The sophomores all had winning records, and I was really proud of them.”
The Irish defeated Georgetown in the quarterfinals, tying in the six matches but winning the tiebreaker to advance. Usher and senior Doug Fortner won outright against the Hoyas. Notre Dame then destroyed Connecticut 5.5-.5, led by two stroke victories from Fortner and senior Carl Santos-Ocampo.
“The Match Play” was the final match of the fall season for the Irish, who finished 36-34, a record which places them in contention for the NCAA tournament. After a winter break, the Irish will resume play Feb. 6 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“When we play well, we can compete with any team,” Kubinski said. “When we’re not doing the things we’re supposed to be doing in terms of playing Notre Dame golf with the focus and the confidence and the preparation, we can slip up and that’s what we have to watch out for. I’m happy that when we play well, we can play with anyone.”