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Men’s Golf: Notre Dame finishes sixth in 12-team field

Conor Kelly | Monday, March 26, 2012

For the second tournament in a row, Notre Dame found itself in the middle of the pack, watching Alabama claim the title at the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga. The Irish finished in sixth place in the 12-team field. The Crimson Tide shot a dominating 26-under par over the three rounds, outpacing second-place Georgia by three strokes. The Irish combined to shoot an 18-over par (882 strokes), just three shots behind fifth-place Kentucky.

“Overall, it was a middle-of-the-road performance that led to a middle-of-the-road finish,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “The field was actually very good. It had more ranked teams than the Schenkel [Invitational] had two weeks ago, but we still need to get better.”

After 36 holes of golf Saturday, the Irish sat in fourth place, but were jumped by Oklahoma on Sunday in the final round. For Kubinski, the struggle has been to find the third and fourth scores to complement the top two.

“We have two or two-and-a-half scores, and that’s just not going to cut it against teams like Alabama and Georgia,” Kubinski said. “We need to get better performance out of the bottom of our lineup.”

Notre Dame was paced by reigning Big East Golfer of the Week senior Max Scodro, who finished with a five-under par score of 211, good for a share of fourth place. Alabama sophomore Cory Whitsett took first with an eight-under par 208. The finish by Scodro marked the seventh-consecutive tournament in which the senior recorded a top-25 finish. Scodro fired below-par scores in the first two rounds before settling in at par in the third.

Sophomore Niall Platt was the next highest finisher for the Irish, posting a one-under par, good for a share of 14th place. His second round three-under par tied with Scodro’s second for the lowest scoring round of the tournament for the Irish.

Senior Chris Walker and sophomore Andrew Lane rounded out the scoring for Notre Dame, finishing at nine-over par and 19-over par respectively. It was Lane’s first time in the lineup on the season, replacing senior mainstay Tom Usher.

“Lane played well for one of his first looks all spring,” Kubinski said. “But he didn’t manage his misses as well as we’d like. He’d get a number of birdie looks, but then end up hurting himself with a number of bad shots.”

Whether or not Lane remains in the top five will remain to be seen. With Kubinski perceiving a lack of production at the bottom of the lineup, changes may still happen, and Usher is certainly still in the mix.

“We’re going to get Tom [Usher] back in there for sure,” Kubinski said. “He’s just been exhausted recently, and his play at the Schenkel really showed it. We’re going to reevaluate in the next few weeks what our lineup is going to look like going forward, but it’s definitely not the last you’ll see of Tom or Andrew [Lane].”

The Irish return to the course April 9 at the All-American Intercollegiate in Houston.


Contact Conor Kelly at ckelly17@nd.edu