Men’s golf: Two Irish golfers crack top 10
A.J. Godeaux | Tuesday, September 10, 2013
In its first competitive action of the season, Notre Dame finished seventh at the Gopher Invitational. Hosted by Minnesota at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minn., the event boasted a 12-team field.
New Mexico won the tournament with a combined score of four under par while defending champion Cal finished fourth, coming in at seven over at the difficult Windsong course. Irish coach Jim Kubinski said the setup at Windsong was challenging, but also fair.
“It was a great examination,” Kubinski said. “The greens were outstanding and you could make some putts, but the hole locations were still challenging. You had to control your shots and hit the ball into the proper spots to have success.”
Freshman Matt Rushton had the most success of the Irish golfers on the challenging course. The Cape Town, South Africa native shot a four-under 67 in his first ever collegiate round Sunday morning. Despite notching a 73 Sunday afternoon, Rushton was able to rebound with a 70 on Monday to tie for sixth individually.
“To see Matthew excel through the bag is exciting for us,” Kubinski said. “He was so solid, from his attitude and focus to his ball striking and putting. He just seemed comfortable out there.”
Kubinski also heaped praise on senior Niall Platt, who made seven birdies en route to a 68 Monday, and finish tied for sixth with Rushton. He started the day tied for tenth.
“Niall played phenomenal,” Kubinski said. “He certainly hit the ball well. His putting though was as good as it gets. His confidence is very high, which is most important to me.”
In fact, Kubinski wasn’t the only one who noticed Platt’s stellar play with the flat stick. Kubinski added that a rival coach told him Platt was “the best putter in college golf.”
The day wasn’t entirely positive for the Irish though, as sophomore Cory Sciupider and freshman Liam Cox struggled to 43rd and 44th place finishes, respectively, in the 62-man field. Kubinski didn’t seem the least bit panicked, however, when talking about their performances.
“From a team standpoint, we needed a better third and fourth score,” Kubinski said. “I know we’ll get those, though … Cory will produce. He’s an exceptional talent but spent the weekend pressing. I have great confidence in Liam and (freshman) Blake [Barens]. They played young but they’ll give us strong play moving forward, I’m sure of that.”
The Irish next tee off at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, a two-day -tournament held at the Warren Golf Course Sept. 23 and 24.
Contact A.J. Godeaux at firstname.lastname@example.org