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Men’s Golf: Notre Dame places 12th at Invitational

Cory Bernard | Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Notre Dame spent its spring break golfing outdoors for a change, competing against Yale March 14 in an informal tune-up match before competing in the Schenkel Invitational over the weekend. The No. 26 Irish fell to the Bulldogs by one stroke, 607-606, before finishing 12th in a field of 15 at Schenkel.

According to Irish coach Jim Kubinski, the matchup against Yale in Greensboro, Ga., was designed as a scrimmage to help prepare his squad for the new terrain and the upcoming competition.

“It was intended to be fun, more of a tune-up for Schenkel,” Kubinski said. “They have Bermuda grass down in Georgia, which we don’t have much experience with, so we wanted to get used to that. They ended up nipping us by one shot, but it was a fun day for everyone.”

Notre Dame initially posted results at the Schenkel Invitational, held in Statesboro, Ga., indicative of their preparation on Monday. First and second round scores of 291 and 287, respectively, left the Irish in seventh place after two days. However, Kubinski said those scores were misleading and may have led to his team’s collapse in the third round.

“That final round, I think, was the cumulative effect of the first and second rounds,” he said. “In the first two, our scores were deceiving. The guys did a pretty good job, but we just weren’t good with the easy shots. I think that caused us to lose a little confidence going into the final round.”

Notre Dame finished the weekend by carding a score of 310, dropping them from what Kubinski considered a potential top-five finish all the way to 12th. Kubinski said he was surprised at some of the shots from his team in the final round.

“Our wedge play was below average,” he said. “Even our chip shots were uncharacteristically bad. We hit some chip shots I don’t normally see us hit.”

The most glaring third round score came from freshman Niall Platt, who owned the team’s best score after two rounds before firing a nine-over-par 81 that was did not count towards the team score. Despite seeing Platt struggle, Kubinski said he is not worried.

“In the first two rounds, I don’t think it bothered him,” Kubinski said. “As the day went on, he started to question his ability to make some shots and got a little down on himself. With the way he’s performed all year, though, this doesn’t really concern me. He just had some bad holes that he’ll learn from.”

Kubinski said he expects the rest of his team to respond in the same way and come ready to play April 2 against LSU.

“Knowing these guys and knowing that they feel like they gave this one away, I’m not worried,” Kubinski said. “I think you’ll see them rally against LSU.”