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Men’s Golf: Irish sit in eleventh after first day of play

Joseph Monardo | Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cold weather and persistent rain greeted participants of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic during the event’s opening round Sunday. The Irish, coming off a fourth-place finish in their last outing, finished the day in 11th place with a 16-over-par 300. 

The seventh installment of the annual tournament began with the first round of three on the par-71 Warren Golf Course, up this year from the traditional par-70. 

Senior Paul McNamara III led Notre Dame’s starting five by finishing tied for fifth with his round of even-par 71, while juniors Andrew Lane and Niall Platt followed with matching rounds of four-over 75 and tied for 35th.

“Paul played a great round, I mean even-par given the conditions was super,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said.  “I think the other guys missed out on a good opportunity to play well today.” 

Irish freshman Cory Sciupider occupied the team’s fourth position in his first collegiate event with an eight-over round of 79 and sophomore Tyler Wingo rounded out the starting lineup with his round of 84 (13-over-par). Sciupider closed out his round with an effective stretch.

“I was really happy to see Cory finish one-under the last five, because I saw him during the rain delay and I just asked him, I said ‘Let’s make a bunch of pars and make a birdie coming in,’ and sure enough, he did do that,” Kubinski said. “So that was really nice.”

All 11 Irish athletes took the course Sunday, with the remaining six playing as individuals. Junior and captain Andrew Carreon finished tied for 18th by carding a two-over-par 73, while freshman Zach Toste finished tied for 28th with an opening round of 74 (3-over-par) in his first collegiate outing.

Houston and Michigan State sit atop the team leaderboard heading into Monday after having aggregated total scores of 287 each, three-over-par. Junior Curtis Reed currently leads the Cougars at 2-under-par after shooting an opening-day 69, while Michigan State relied on the performances of Carson Castellani and Matthew Moseley, both of whom shot 1-under rounds of 70. San Francisco completes the top three and sits at 8-over-par after the first day.

The Irish sit 13 strokes back of the leaders after one round, a deficit that represents a lackluster day from the home team, Kubinski said.

“Really it was below what we expected to do today,” he said. “So it was disappointing, but we are only one-third of the way there, so two good rounds, and we are right back in it.” 

Although the weather presented a significant difficulty for the Irish on Sunday, Notre Dame failed to handle the circumstances as well as some of its competitors, the Irish coach said.

“If you look at the board, the teams from the warm areas played just fine today,” Kubinski said. “And we should be at least as good as that and we just didn’t play well with it. It’s tough to have the highest round of the year on your home course. So I know the guys are going to be motivated by that, and I expect us to go out tomorrow and really play a better round.”

With the participants playing the remaining two rounds today and Tuesday, Kubinski said his team will have to improve around the hole in order to climb the leaderboard before the tournament’s end.

“We’ve got to take care of the easy shots,” he said. “The putts inside of five feet we can’t give away multiple times in a round, we’ve got to take care of the short irons – the 7, 8, 9-irons – and wedges better than we are doing. 

“We are driving it well, and seemingly that is about it right now. So I think we just have to score better. Some of it is confidence and some of it is just having a little bit of heart and willpower to just get that ball in the hole.”

The Irish will look to begin an ascent up the leaderboard today at the Warren Golf Course for the second round of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, with play spanning all day.

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu