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Men’s Golf: Usher finishes first, leads team to win

Peter Steiner | Monday, April 23, 2012

In the end, the Battle of the Warren did not prove to be much of a battle.

The Irish rose above the fray Sunday to easily win Notre Dame’s home event by 36 strokes. In addition, the Irish swept the top six places on the leaderboard as the entire Irish lineup finished above the rest of a field that included Illinois State, Evansville, Marquette and Bradley.

“We shot 281 and then 283 in the afternoon and both rounds were under par,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “Illinois State finished exactly at 600, 36 [strokes] behind us. Honestly, I don’t think it could have gone any better for us. We really did a great job.”

Irish senior Tom Usher took home the first-place finish, shooting two-under par on the day with a 68 and 72. Fellow seniors Max Scodro, Chris Walker, and Ryan Coughlin also played well in their final match event at the Warren Golf Course, finishing third and tied for fourth, respectively.

“Chris Walker came back from a 77 in the morning to shoot 68 in the afternoon,” Kubinski said. “Our other senior who made his debut in the lineup, Ryan Coughlin, has never made it into our lineup really, shot a 74 and 71, which was really nice.”

A majority of the events for the Irish take place out-of-state so avoiding travel and playing a familiar course is not a phenomenon the Irish often experience. These additional comforts proved to be helpful for a Notre Dame squad that turned in one of its best performances in the spring season.

“All the teams had practice rounds yesterday, but of course we have played this course so many times so it is a nice advantage,” Kubinski said. “The interesting thing today is that you look at our fall tournament [at the Warren Golf Course] and we didn’t break 290 in any round. We didn’t play particularly well. In the fall, it didn’t seem like we had any advantage when we were playing.

“But 281 and 283 are really low scores, especially with the cold weather and the wind conditions.”

The field faced tougher conditions than usual. The wind blew out of the northeast all day, forcing many of the Irish golfers to make some adjustments to the style they may typically play at their home course, Kubinski said.

“I haven’t seen [the conditions] too much tougher than today and the guys did a really good job,” Kubinski said. “The guys had to get used to it a little bit and it was worth a couple of shots. That’s why when we started today, I thought to myself that anything in the 280s, 290s today will be a solid round so to see a 283 was really great.”

Marquette and Evansville followed second-place Illinois State, and finished with total scores of 601 and 604, respectively. The Irish also entered six individuals on the day, with the top finish coming from sophomore Andrew Carreon.

The Irish have struggled at times during their spring season, recording only one top six finish in three events. But Sunday’s dominating performance can only serve to boost the team’s confidence as it heads into postseason play, Kubinski said.

“I think [this weekend’s performance] is a tremendous lift,” Kubinski said. “It’s the kind of golf that we thought we were going to be playing throughout the year.

“The guys never lost sight of what they wanted to do which is to win the Big East and have a chance to go and compete in the NCAAs. They still have those goals in mind and now they are really starting to play well.”

The Irish prepare this week for the upcoming Big East championships held in Orlando, Fla.


Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu