Irish place fifth in Naples
Kit Loughran | Monday, March 17, 2014
The Irish held on to finish fifth at the Talis Park Challenge at the Talis Park Golf Club in Naples, Fla., on Sunday and Monday
Notre Dame took fifth out of 14 teams after three rounds in the two-day tournament with a score of 908 (299-295-314). The Irish sat in third place overall after the tournament’s first two rounds, which took place Sunday.
“As a team we definitely played better day one of the tournament,” senior captain Niall Platt said. “We were in decent position to make a move [Monday], but we had to count a couple of really high scores, which made it impossible to move up the leaderboard.”Two Notre Dame golfers — Platt and junior Patrick Grahek — notched top-10 individual finishes, Platt in a tie for third and Grahek in a tie for seventh.
Platt’s six birdies in his second round highlighted his overall one-over-par finish at 217.
“I was happy with the way I played individually,” Platt said. “Definitely gave away some shots when I didn’t need to, but I fought hard considering I didn’t have my best stuff. I gave myself a chance to win, which is always my goal.
“I wasn’t quite able to get the job done but I can’t complain with a T-3 finish.”
Grahek also completed his best 18 holes in his even second round and compiled an overall 4-over 220.
Though the team secured a top-five finish, Grahek said the Irish did not play the course the best that they could have.
“As a team, we were right there going into the final round [Monday],” Grahek said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish on the strong note we wanted to, but we are only beginning our spring and have a long way to go.”
“I felt as though we had as much potential as the players on Vanderbilt who ended up winning the tournament. We’re close, and we’ll get there soon.”
Grahek said the course itself also posed challenges for the Irish.
“The greens were incredibly fast and difficult to putt on with the high winds,” Grahek said. “Mentally, it was challenging as well trying to grind for so many shots.”
With this tournament behind them and the spring season coming into full swing, the Irish said they will take the lessons learned from the greens of Talis Park as they move forward in the season.
“[Going forward,] we just need to play better,” Platt said. “At this point it’s going to be tough to make it in to NCAAs as an at large bid, so we just need to keep building momentum leading up to the ACC Championship.”
The Irish next play in the Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio at Golf Club at Briggs Ranch on Monday.