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Men’s Golf: Irish try to redeem season

Casey Karnes | Friday, April 26, 2013

Notre Dame will tee off in its last tournament of the season Sunday with the Big East Championship in Orlando, Florida.

The Irish are coming off an 11th place finish (310-292-299) in the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa on April 13 and 14. While the final results from that weekend may not have been stellar, there were some signs of improvement from the Irish.  Freshman Corey Sciupider tied the best round of his young college career, shooting a 67, a tournament low. He finished the weekend in 21st place. While he didn’t to match that score in the first or third round, when he shot an 80 and 76, respectively, Irish coach Jim Kubinski said he is confident the young golfer has the skill to replicate his performance.

“With Corey, he has been a little bit up and down, he shows you brilliant play … but he needs to develop emotional maturity,” Kubinski said. “He’s going to get better at that. With his talent, boy, he has a high ceiling at this game.”

Sciupider is not the only young golfer Kubinski praised. Freshman Zach Toste played himself into the starting lineup with a strong week of practice, replacing sophomore Tyler Wingo.

“Toste shot a couple 69s over the weekend… and won his spot for the week,” Kubinski said. “We’ve seen quite a few guys step up and play some good rounds in practice.”

Juniors Andrew Lane and Niall Platt and senior Paul McNamara comprise the rest of the Irish Big East lineup. Kubinski praised their golfing in practice the last few weeks, but now hopes to see that success translate into tournament play.

“I feel like we’ve had more consistent play, and from a variety of guys, not just he top few,” Kubinski said. “We’ll see this weekend if what we see [in practice] is … coming into form. But I believe it, we’re getting better, and we’re excited.”

While the Big East is not known as a powerhouse golf conference and has no teams in the current NCAA top-25, the Irish will still be challenged. Notre Dame will be paired with Louisville and South Florida for opening day tee times. Despite the bigger stage, Kubinski isn’t worried about his players’ ability to manage nerves, because he said he believes the event offers much more potential reward than risk.

“I don’t feel we need to do anything extra for it. We’re looking at it as a great opportunity for us,” Kubinski said. “It can kind of, honestly, help redeem our season. So we feel good.”

The Irish will tee off at 10:30 a.m.  Sunday in Orlando, Florida on the Watson Course at Reunion Resort.