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Men’s Golf: Irish lead early at Big East championships

Peter Steiner | Monday, April 30, 2012

After recording two of the top three individual rounds on the first of day of competition Sunday, the Irish lead the Big East championships at the Watson Course at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla., by one stroke over Louisville.

Junior Paul McNamara and senior Max Scodro paved the way for the Irish, finishing at four-under par and three-under par, respectively. The duo only trails Louisville senior Justin Dorward for the invididual lead, who shot five-under on the day.

“I thought [the team] did a really nice job,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “They are feeling good about their games. Even though some of the guys didn’t finish well in Houston [at All American Collegiate on April 10], we had good stretches there.

“The guys the last two-and-a-half weeks have really started to play well, and it was fun today. [Senior] Tom [Usher] struggled a bit, but the other four guys did a great job.”

McNamara continued his strong play that started in Houston. The California native finished the day with six birdies, all of which came on par-fours.

“Paul shot four-under and had it at five-under today, but he started that in Houston,” Kubinski said. “He was five-under through 11 or 12 holes there, ended up at one-under [in the second round]. Then he continued to play well at [the Olympia Fields Invitational in Chicago] and at our place he shot 70.

“[The fact that all four birdies came on par-fours] means he could shoot a lower score too, because you think you can birdie a couple of [par-fives]. If he does the same thing tomorrow, he may have a couple a more in there.”

Meanwhile, Scodro found success at an event where he already holds quite the history. The senior claimed the individual Big East championship last season after finishing as a co-medalist his sophomore year. Sitting at third place after one round is a familiar position for Scodro, as he found himself in the same position after the first round during last year’s winning campaign.

“I think [his experience] was big today in the sense that he hit so many good shots and he just rolled the putt right over the edge of the hole six, seven or eight times,” Kubinski said. “He didn’t get frustrated and he didn’t start to press. He’s learned a lot.”

According to Kubinski, the Irish can’t worry about how other teams are performing because their focus should remain on their own game.

“Like I told the guys, it’s all about the last three holes on Tuesday,” Kubinski said. “You just play the course, play the game and don’t get too caught up in it. You never know if another team gets hot and comes up from behind and makes it a match too.

“We are not going to worry too much about Louisville and just try to play another solid round. Then at the end of the day tomorrow, hopefully we’ll be in the same position and have an opportunity to close it out on Tuesday.”

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu