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Men’s Golf: Despite strong final round, Irish place poorly

Joseph Monardo | Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sunshine accompanied strong winds on the final day of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic on Tuesday after the tournament’s start was plagued by rain. Notre Dame’s performance was cause for a brighter outlook for Irish supporters as well, as the Irish turned in their lowest score of the event to climb out of last place.

Notre Dame used a final-day score of 290 to move out of its position tied for 11th place and into eighth place. Notre Dame finished 16 strokes back of champion Michigan State (17-over-par), a deficit largely attributable to the team’s opening two rounds. Houston and North Carolina-Wilmington finished tied for second at 18-over. The Irish shot 300 on Sunday and 295 on Monday before turning in the second-lowest round of the day Tuesday. They finished 33 strokes over par for the event with a three-day score of 885.

The Irish settled in nicely on the final day of action, providing their coach with a glimpse of what he said he had expected to see throughout the event.

“Today we had the low round with about three holes to go of all the teams, and going into the tournament I thought we would have a chance to compete here and a chance to win but we got off to a really tough start,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said.

Despite finishing in the bottom half of the field, the Irish progressed significantly throughout the tournament, Kubinski said.

“But talk about the Notre Dame spirit, the boys really played hard,” he said. “We ended up with the second low round of the day and I think that really showed a lot from these guys because they didn’t get down on themselves, they didn’t hang their heads, they just kept playing. And they got a little better each day and really played a great one today. The funny thing is today was the toughest condition of the tournament. The wind was really going to 25 or 30 miles per hour at times … it was hard but our boys really battled and other than a couple of bogeys at the end they played super.”

Irish junior Niall Platt led the Irish on the closing day by shooting a round of 70, the lowest score registered by all competitors on the day. Platt’s performance came after a first-round 75 and a second-round team-high score of 80.

“Niall, to have a really tough round yesterday, to put it behind him to shoot 70, I don’t know that there were any players in the field … who broke 70 today, but 70 was a tremendous round,” Kubinski said. “It just shows you when you can put [yesterday] behind you and come back and play great, I thought that was awesome.”

Senior Paul McNamara and junior Andrew Lane led the Irish in scoring over the three-day stretch, finishing tied for 15th with a score of 219 and tied for 26th at 221, respectively. McNamara III turned in a round of 72 on Tuesday while Lane finished with a 73 after registering several bogeys in the closing holes.

“I thought Paul’s round today was really, really solid,” Kubinski said. “Andrew Lane is one I would touch on as well. Every round he has played for us has been between 72 and 75. Nothing high and he is so close to going low. He was one-under with two to go so he has just played so consistently, I’m proud of him. This is his first season in the lineup and he is so close to going low and being a top, top guy.”

Irish junior Andrew Carreon finished tied for 15th with his score of 219 – even with McNamara as the best performance for the Irish – after shooting three consecutive rounds of 73 as an individual.

Having salvaged what began as a nightmare on their home course, the Irish will return to action with the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational in Muncie, Ind., on Oct. 15 and 16.

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