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Men’s Golf: Team struggles to place again

Conor Kelly | Monday, April 4, 2011

A trip to Baton Rouge for the LSU National Invitational proved frustratingly similar to many other tournaments for the Irish as they captured eighth place out of 12 teams with a three-day score of 53-over-par.

Host LSU took home first place overall (+22), narrowly edging Chatanooga by just one stroke. Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota rounded out the top five. Chatanooga’s Stephan Jaeger finished a full seven strokes ahead of the competition (-7), running away with the individual title.

The Irish have yet to place in the top five of a tournament this spring and have not resumed the form they displayed this fall on their way to four tournament victories and a preseason No. 24 national ranking.

“We’re just having a hard time putting three good rounds together,” coach Jim Kubinski said. “We’re not the same team we were in the fall.”

Though their final place may not have been as high as they had liked, the Irish recorded a number of strong individual efforts, led by sophomore Paul McNamara III, who posted a three-day score of 227 (+11), earning a share of 19th place overall. McNamara was particularly solid on the first two days, finishing +2 Friday and one-under-par Saturday.

The rest of the Irish effort came in right behind McNamara as junior Max Scodro carded a third-round 77 to finish a consistent plus-15 and in a tie for 31st place for the tournament. Junior Chris Walker and freshman Niall Platt both finished two strokes behind Scodro at 17-over and in a tie for 35th place. Junior Tom Usher, coming off of a Big East Player of the Week award the week earlier finished a disappointing 33-over-par in 61st place.

“We certainly had some good rounds, but that was the kind of course that can tear you apart if you don’t have your shots,” Kubinski said.

The Irish were tied for seventh place heading into the third and final round but were unable to put up another quality score, keeping them out of the top five.

One tune-up remains before the team heads to Florida for the Big East Championships. The Irish will host the Battle at the Warren Apr. 12 in their only home match of the year. Kubinski said he hopes the familiar course will help his team which is in need of a good showing before its most important match of the year.

“We just need a good couple weeks of practice before the Big East,” Kubinski said. “We know we have the talent.”