Men’s Golf: Irish finish 8th at talent-laden Olympia Fields Invitational
Conor Kelly | Monday, September 19, 2011
Led by a one-under 69 in the final round by senior Max Scodro on his home course, the Irish jumped two spots to finish in eighth place in a 15-team field at the Olympia Fields Invitational at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago, Ill.
Facing some of the top programs in college golf, the Irish climbed incrementally on the second and third days of the tournament after ending the first round tied for 12th.
The Irish opened the first round of the Invitational with a 292 (+12), led by Scodro’s 71 (+1) and sophomore Niall Platt’s 72 (+2).
“We came out and didn’t shoot terribly in the first round, ” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “But against this competition we had to be better.”
The second round saw the Irish move into a tie for 10th place despite shooting a 297 (+17). Senior Chris Walker paced the Irish with a 72 (+2).
The 54-hole format proved beneficial to the Irish on Sunday, as they again moved up two spots to eighth place despite hazardous weather conditions.
“I don’t think the scores on our rounds accurately portray the way we played,” Kubinski said. “There was a lot of wind and rain today. Our guys were out there grinding.”
Scodro and Walker placed well individually, with Scodro tied for 11th and Walker knotted for 15th. Kubinski viewed the tournament and especially the last two days as a coming-out-party for Walker.
“Walker was injured in Minnesota last weekend, and he played through it, but the results sort of reflected that,” Kubinksi said. “But this week he played 143 through the last two rounds. The best thing about it was his composure. It’s something he’s been working on for the past three years.”
For Scodro, shooting a 69 on the last round at his home club was satisfying on a weekend when the novelty of playing on the same course he’s played since he was eight years old was at times as much a distraction as it was a benefit.
“There were times this tournament when Scodro was a little bit distracted,” Kubinski said. “He wanted to put on a show for all his friends and family there, but I don’t think it really affected his play. He’s pretty good at blocking things out.”
Stanford ran away from the rest of the field as the Cardinal finished with a 54-hole total of 849 (+9), 16 strokes ahead of second-place Auburn.
“Stanford had four or five guys play really well each round,” Kubinski said. “Consistency is really the key. We had maybe two guys put up great scores each day. When we can start doing that we’ll start finishing higher, even in great fields like this.”
Notre Dame finished one spot and seven strokes ahead of defending national champion Augusta State.
The Irish return to action next Sunday at home for the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic at the Warren Golf Course.
Contact Conor Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org