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ND Men’s Golf: Irish post strong showing

Cory Bernard | Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Notre Dame returns home this week after a solid showing at the College of Charleston Invitational in South Carolina, where it finished second to a strong North Carolina State squad.

In their first ever trip to The Ocean Course, one of the toughest in the nation, the Irish came tantalizingly close to victory, holding the team lead after the first day of action.

But a final round 295 left the Irish at 15-over overall, while NC State shot a final-round 288, leaving the Wolfpack at 9-over for the tournament and in first place.

With a competitive field of schools, a runner-up finish is indeed still an impressive result, and Irish coach James Kubinski said he was encouraged after his team’s showing Monday and Tuesday.

“If you had asked me going in to the tournament, ‘would you take a second place finish,’ I would have said yes,” Kubinski said. “Looking at the field, I thought N.C. State, Coastal Carolina and Vanderbilt were going to be tough. And plus you can never count out the home team.”

The home team, College of Charleston, finished third, one stroke behind Notre Dame at 16-over. They were carried by individual winner sophomore John Duke Hudson, who carded a 214 for the tournament, leaving him at 2-under.

Just behind Hudson in a tie for second was Irish freshman Niall Platt, who carded a 1-over 217. The rookie’s performance was marked by a confidence unusual for a first-year golfer.

“[Niall] actually mentioned to one of our coaches yesterday that this was the most fun he’s ever had on a golf course,” Kubinski said. “He had ice water in his veins, knowing his score was going to count and playing like he did out there.”

One shot in particular Kubinski said left him in awe.

“The 17th tee at The Ocean Course is one of the toughest par threes in the world and [Niall] hit a laser shot, one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Kubinski said.

Another golfer making his Irish varsity debut was sophomore Paul McNamara III. Firing rounds of 75 and 68 Monday, McNamara helped to catapult the Irish into their first place finish after two rounds. Despite carding an 80 in the final round, his effort was not lost on his head coach.

“It was his first time with the varsity traveling group, and he played very well,” Kubinski said. “He showed great poise, attitude and he trusted his shots. Just like anyone in a situation for the first time, there are lots of lessons to be learned and I think next time he’ll bring that knowledge to the table.”

Next up for Notre Dame is the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic at Warren Golf Course, a tournament the Irish won last year.

“This week gives us great momentum for our home event,” Kubinski said.