Men’s Golf: Case of the Mondays
Andrew Gastelum | Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Notre Dame fell from first to third in the final day of the Gopher Invitational in Wayzata, Minn. The Irish entered the closing day at Spring Hill Golf Course with a four-stroke lead, but a 20-over-par round of 308 left them five strokes behind champion and 10th-ranked Arkansas.
The Irish quickly became tournament favorites after posting a 282 (-6) on the opening 18 holes Sunday, for an eight-shot lead with two rounds remaining. They followed that effort with a 295 (+7) in the second round, before losing the lead Monday. After entering the final day with the lead, Irish coach Jim Kubinski was disappointed to leave with anything less than the championship.
“Going into this season it is a good way to start off, but it is how we gave up the lead that was disappointing for us,” Kubinski said. “[Monday] we had gusty conditions with winds up to 25 m.p.h. so the margin of error became even smaller on that particular course, which is tough as it is.”
The Irish were atop the team and individual leaderboards heading into the last round, led by a stellar effort from junior Paul McNamara III. McNamara fired off an opening round 66 (-6) highlighted by an eagle and seven birdies. He continued with a 73 (+1) in the second round to put him in first place at five-under with a single stroke advantage. But McNamara struggled in Monday’s final round, squandering the lead with six bogeys, two double-bogeys and a triple bogey that led to a 85 (+13).
“Paul had a similar situation [at the College of Charleston Invitational] where he sort of gave up the lead on the second day,” Kubinski said. “But this year he seemed more relaxed and composed going into that final round. He just ran into a bad hole and pressed a little too hard afterward to try to make up for it.”
Meanwhile, senior Max Scodro and sophomore Niall Platt led the Irish in individual competition. They tied for eighth after shooting a 220 (+4) for the three rounds. Platt was Notre Dame’s most consistent player over the two days, finishing Sunday’s 36 holes with eight birdies to put him in seventh place with a 145 (+1).
“It was good to see Max and Niall battle throughout,” Kubinski said. “Being the first full-length tournament, the guys might have been a little worn down, but it was a good opportunity to see where we stand and what we still need to work on.”
Scodro got off to a quick start in Sunday’s opening round after going two-under par but was shackled by a second round that featured five bogeys and one double-bogey. The senior rebounded from a rough second round Sunday to jump five spots on the leaderboard.
The Irish will have a chance to bounce back Friday with the Olympia Fields Invitational at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago, Ill.
“We have got to get Paul and [senior Tom Usher] back to where they should be, and I think that they will do that this weekend at Olympia,” Kubinski said.