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Sports

ND drops to seventh at home invitational

| Tuesday, September 30, 2014

After a strong start to the weekend, the Irish were not able to hang onto the top spot at the annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic. Notre Dame finished seventh in the tournament after posting a team score of 300 on Monday.

Irish sophomore Liam Cox lines up a putt during the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge on Aug. 31 at Warren Golf Course.Kevin Song | The Observer

Irish sophomore Liam Cox lines up a putt during the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge on Aug. 31 at Warren Golf Course.

Irish coach James Kubinski said the team was slightly off in the last two rounds which affected the overall outcome in a big way.

“We just didn’t get anything good going the last two days,” Kubinski said. “We started out playing well, leading after the first day, and confidence was high. The last two days saw too many of us that little bit off. We finished 10 shots out of second place, which is less than one shot per player each round from posting a 6-1 record. Those are often the margins in golf though, so we need to find those one or two shots per player.”

Kubinski was quick to point out that the team will not dwell on its disappointing finish.

“There’s no value in lamenting losses,” Kubinski said. “We have to get right back onto the horse and start riding again. In each tournament we’ve had players playing well. We simply cannot have a player or two at each event falling off to the point where there’s no chance of counting. The top teams keep all five in the mix. We are working to do that.”

Kubinski said one bright spot for the Irish over the weekend was the play of junior Cory Sciupider, who finished second overall in the 50-man field with a total of 211 strokes, 2-under-par for the weekend, just two strokes back from Ball State senior McCormick Clouser for the title. Sciupider and Clouser were the only golfers in the tourney to finish under par.

“I can’t say enough about the work Cory has done the last several months and particularly over the three weeks since the Gopher Invitational,” Kubinski said. “He didn’t run from a tough finish there. He went to work, the result of which was finishing as one of only two players in the red this week. Even after making triple [bogey] on [the third hole] today, a time when a lot of young players might allow their emotions get away from them, Cory finished off his round with five pars and a birdie. He’s maturing as a player, which is fun to watch.”

Another player that Kubinski said he was impressed with was freshman Thomas Steve, who finished eighth individually with a total score of 216 strokes, three-over-par.

“I walked most every hole with Thomas and continue to be impressed by his great attitude, thoughtful approach and his gifted short game,” Kubinski said. “He hit some great shots out there too. Earning his first top-10 finish this week, as a [freshman], should only be a confidence boost. I think he is realizing he not only belongs out there but that he can beat top players. McCormick is not only one of the top collegiate players but a veteran of our Warren Golf Course. He edged Thomas by a shot today. That says a lot about our young guy.”

For now, Kubinski and the Irish turn their attention to their next tournament.

“We’re going to work very hard at putting a lineup together that sees all five players staying in the mix and showing the type of golf we’re capable of,” Kubinski said. “Our good golf, as evidenced by our 36 holes on Aug. 31st, a 36-hole stretch at Northwestern and our first round here on Sunday, is good enough to beat quality teams. It’s a matter of developing a deeper lineup and more consistency throughout 54 holes for us right now. I believe in our guys. I think we’ll see those things.”

The Irish resume play on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, North Carolina. The tournament goes through Sunday.

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