Irish open season in San Diego
Matthew Garcia | Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Notre Dame is set to kick off the spring season at the San Diego Intercollegiate on Monday as the team looks to start 2014 on a high note.
Senior captain Niall Platt said he understands the role the tournament plays in setting the tone for the rest of the year, coming off the fall season.
“It will be important to start the spring season off strong,” Platt said. “If we play [well] in San Diego, it will give us confidence moving forward. We will have a chance to win this weekend.”
The trip to the San Diego Country Club will be the team’s first tournament since Oct. 29, when the Irish tied for 11th place at The Invitational at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, S.C. That marked the end of a fall season in which the Irish had one top-five team finish. On Oct. 22, the Irish wrapped up a second-place finish at the Georgetown Intercollegiate in Beallsville, Md.
“Our biggest weakness in the fall was having to count a high score, which ruined our team’s round,” Platt said. “Individually, I have the same goal. I need to stay consistent in all three of my rounds so I can help the team win.”
Despite not competing in an NCAA tournament since the fall, the Irish traveled to warmer weather in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Feb. 15 for the Notre Dame Alumni Match.
“The biggest challenge will be to get back into the swing of things coming out of the winter,” Platt said. “We have had a couple of good weekends this past month to practice in warm weather, but without the ability to play outside everyday, we may be at a little bit of a disadvantage. We need to avoid getting frustrated if we hit a bad shot or have a bad hole.”
Despite the circumstances, Platt affirmed there would be nothing rusty from Notre Dame’s mental standpoint.
“Our biggest strength is our competitiveness,” Platt said. “We are all fired up to get the season started and excited to compete.”
Notre Dame will compete in five tournaments before the ACC Championships, which begin April 25, but Platt emphasized the team’s focus on this weekend’s tournament.
“At the present moment, we need to focus solely on the task at hand, which is getting prepared to hit our first tee shot in San Diego,” Platt said. “As a team, our goal at every tournament ultimately is to win.”
The two-day tournament in San Diego will begin on Monday, with Platt and his team striving to achieve that goal.