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Men’s Golf: Irish struggle in opener at North Carolina

Cory Bernard | Monday, September 17, 2012

Beginning the season with three new starters, the Irish showed their inexperience over the weekend at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate at the UNC Finley Golf Course. Notre Dame fired a 23-over-par 887 to finish ninth.

Future ACC rivals Duke and North Carolina took first and second place, respectively. The Blue Devils shot an eight-under-par 856 and the Tar Heels shot a two-under-par 862.

Junior Andrew Lane and sophomore Tyler Wingo had only four starts between them heading into the weekend. Sophomore David Lowe, a transfer from Arizona State, appeared in nine tournaments as a freshman for the Sun Devils but had never started for Notre Dame. Irish coach Jim Kubinski said his team did not play as well as they would have liked, but did gain experience.

“We have three new starters,” Kubinski said. “I think they did a good job. Obviously we are a little disappointed with our overall results. But we’ve said that the first few tournaments we will have to gain some experience and I think we did that.”

Wingo and Lowe both began the tournament poorly, firing a seven-over-par 79 and four-over-par 76, respectively. However, the sophomores each shot an even par 72 during the second round Saturday afternoon. Lane finished second on the team overall with a three-round, six-over-par score of 222.

Kubinksi said his new starters will continue to develop as the season progresses.

“I was … talking to Tyler and Andrew Lane on the way to the bus and they pointed out several things they learned from this weekend,” he said. “The season is a long road through to the spring. Those guys played really good stretches of golf. Tyler and David bounced back [Saturday] afternoon after struggling in the morning, and I thought Andrew played pretty consistent throughout.”

The effort of junior veteran Niall Platt would appear to be of more concern to Irish fans. The junior with 23 tournaments under his belt and a career stroke average of 73.61 averaged an 18-hole score of 75.33 at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. However, Kubinski said Platt was battling illness and will bounce back.

“Niall was really, really sick,” Kubinski said. “He was battling a flu [and] cold. I didn’t know if he was going to play [Saturday]. Actually, on Sunday morning when I really thought he would struggle he played alright. He did the best he could, given the circumstances. Basically he was just sick. I’m not worried about him at all.”

Though he led the Irish with a five-over-par 221, including an opening round two-under-par 70, senior Paul McNamara also struggled at times.

“Paul started off really strong but in the last two rounds he couldn’t get a putt to drop,” Kubinski said. “Hopefully he can make a few more putts for us moving forward.”

The Irish will look to improve upon their ninth-place finish when they head to New Haven, Conn., for the Macdonald Cup held at Yale on Sept. 29 and 30.

Contact Cory Bernard at cbernard@nd.edu