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Men’s Golf: Underclassmen help lead Irish at Kiawah

Chris Allen | Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Youth was served on the first day of the College of Charleston Invitational at Kiawah Island, as strong second round performances from sophomore Paul McNamara and freshman Niall Piatt staked the Irish to the overall team lead headed into the final round of the tournament.

“Both Paul and Niall made their travel squad debut today,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said in a press release. “For rookies, I couldn’t be more impressed with their poise, approach and execution.”

The tournament, played on the notoriously windy Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C. gave golfers from the twelve participating teams fits in the morning round, as the four leading Irish golfers out of a six-man rotation struggled to a first round score of 300, eleven shots behind first round leaders North Carolina State. No Irish golfer shot below 75 in the morning session.

In the afternoon, better conditions helped the Irish make up the gap and overtake the team lead in the tournament, as McNamara’s tournament-low 68 helped him move into a tie for third on the individual leaderboard and was the catalyst for Notre Dame’s 284 in the afternoon session. The junior birdied three holes in a row, starting with the ninth hole, to set himself up for a low round. McNamara’s two-round score of 143 led the Irish, followed by Platt’s 144, junior Chris Walker’s 146, junior Max Scodro’s 151, senior Jeff Chen’s 154 and junior Tom Usher’s 157. Host College of Charleston’s John Duke Hudson holds overall individual lead in the tournament. Hudson fired two rounds under par to post a two-round score of five-under 139.

“The afternoon round was a solid one, but still one in which we dropped a couple of shots coming in,” Kubinski said. “Paul, Niall Platt and Chris Walker did a great job today, though. They stayed very, very patient and committed to their shots extremely well.”

The performances of the young Irish squad have them sitting one stroke ahead of North Carolina State going into the tournament’s final round. The six-count-four format of the tournament means that of the six Irish golfers participating in the Invitational, the four best scores for the tournament will be counted.

The final round of the tournament gets underway at 8:30 a.m. today.