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Men’s Golf: Irish return to Schenkel Invite

D.H. Kim | Thursday, March 7, 2013

Earlier in the fall, the Irish had come off a superb finish at the Georgetown Invitational where they finished 2nd overall, boosting their rankings which climbed just outside the top 100 mark.

The Irish would need to make the top 81 to make the NCAA finals. The team had great depth and experience going into Georgetown with leadership from senior Paul McNamara, junior Andrew Lane and junior Niall Platt. At the Georgetown Invitational, McNamara had a phenomenal run to tie for sixth place (214) and get the Irish going. McNamara led the entire tournament with 14 birdies during the event.

Andrew Lane played his season-best 71 strokes (even) to take a share of 11th place, the best finish of his Notre Dame career (217). The Irish will resume their spring season carrying the positive feel and momentum from Georgetown to the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational in Statesboro, Ga. at the Forest Heights Country Club International. They are scheduled to face three of the toughest opponents in the country including defending national champions Texas, defending Schenkel Invitational champion Alabama and a top-five Florida team.

McNamara, Lane and Platt all have experience playing in the Schenkel Invitational. This will be the fifth year that the Irish will be playing in the event, and head coach Jim Kubinski is confident that they will improve from their last year’s 12th-place finish.

“This is one of the oldest events in collegiate golf and Notre Dame has been playing there since ’05 which makes it very special and important for us to do well,” coach Kubinski said.

The Irish look to improve their history at Schenkel which has a reputation for being tricky on the green. The bent Georgian grass is typically known to be slick, which makes putting and placement shots difficult.

“I would call it the mini-Masters. It’s not as big as Augusta National Golf Club but the grass is really smooth and fast making it similar and challenging,” coach Kubinski said.

The Schenkel Invitational will be a test for the Irish they look to improve their rankings and make it to the top 81 to qualify for finals.

“There will be a good number of highly ranked teams giving us a good feel of what the playoffs will be like,” Kubinski said. “Right now we want to carry positive momentum from our 2nd place at Georgetown and keep getting better.”

The Irish certainly look to continue the strong run and dominate at the three-day Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational from March 15 to March 17 in Statesoboro, Gia.

Contact D.H. Kim dkim16@nd.edu