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Men’s Golf: Final-round woes sink Irish

By Isaac Lorton | Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The final round of The Invitational at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C., proved to be an obstacle the Irish could not overcome. 

Notre Dame held fifth place after two rounds, but shot a field-worst 312 in Tuesday’s final round to drop into a tie for 11th place in the field of 14 teams. No. 17 South Florida grabbed the top spot in the invitational with a team score of seven-over par 871 (281-295-285). 

“We struggled [Tuesday],” Irish coach Jim Kubinski. “We played a really tough round. We struggled, really, in every area. We didn’t putt well; we didn’t have our short game. And uncharacteristically, we didn’t strike the ball well.”

The last round notwithstanding, Kubinski said the Irish appeared to be able to compete with top-10 teams, such as No. 8 Georgia. With an overall team score of 876 (296-297-293), Georgia finished in a tie for third place with Kentucky (288-293-295).  

“After the first two rounds, we thought we could catch Georgia,” Kubinski said. “We were in fifth place and only four shots behind them [entering the final round], but they played well [Tuesday], and we probably had the worst round of the day.”

Although Notre Dame was on pace for one of its best finishes of the season, the Irish finished with a three-round score of 909, their second-worst outing of the fall season. 

“I don’t know what changed,” Kubinski said of the final round. “We did everything the same way. We had the same approach as the first rounds. We were in good shape going into [Tuesday], but I’m not sure why we didn’t perform very well. [We] played so differently [Tuesday].”

Junior Tyler Wingo led the Irish, as he tied for 22nd place individually. He shot a seven-over par 79 in the final round to finish the tournament with an eight-over par 224. Wingo dropped 15 spots in the final round, moving from seventh to 22nd overall. 

Senior Niall Platt began the third round tied for 14th, but slid 19 spots to tie for 33rd with a three-round score of 227 (76-71-80). 

Kubinski said he was unable to discern why Notre Dame’s play diminished in the final 18 holes of the tournament. 

“I thought we hit an enormous amount of greens in the first two rounds,” Kubinski said. “Whether we got worn down or what, I don’t know. It appeared we did, but it happens.”

The Ocean Course was unforgiving to the Irish on Tuesday, Kubinski said.

“I told the guys, even if you were a little bit off, the course penalized slight mistakes,” Kubinski said. “And it did.”

The Irish have now concluded their fall season and are on hiatus until they start the San Diego Intercollegiate at San Diego Country Club on March 10.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu