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Men’s Golf

ND in sixth place after Day One

| Sunday, September 21, 2014

At the end of the first day of the Windon Memorial in Evanston, Illinois, the Irish are right in the middle of the pack. Notre Dame sits in sixth place after posting scores of 289 and 285 for a first day score of 574.

Irish coach Jim Kubinski said he appreciated how his team got into a groove throughout the afternoon.

“We had a rough start to the day, playing our first nine [holes] … in eight or nine over par and lost a few shots over our last nine but showed some heart and patience by playing those middle 18 holes of the day under par,” Kubinski said. “Our boys did a nice job dealing with some adversity early on and posted two solid rounds today, which gives us a chance to move up into a strong finish tomorrow.”

Kubinski said sophomore Matt Rushton exemplified the team’s day.

“Matt Rushton did a great job today,” Kubinski said. “His opening 72 was hard-fought after an early double bogey. He then came out this afternoon and posted an outstanding 67.”

Junior Zach Toste tees off during the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge on Aug. 31 at Warren Golf Course. Wei Lin| The Observer

Junior Zach Toste tees off during the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge on Aug. 31 at Warren Golf Course.

The Irish are dealing with a strong tournament field, including eighth-ranked California, and are adjusting to an unfamiliar course. Notre Dame has not played in the Windon Memorial since 2004. Kubinski said he was pleased with how the team adjusted.

“It was tough to make birdies today,” Kubinski said. “With the wind blowing a pretty steady 15 to 18 miles-per-hour and some very difficult hole locations, controlling the ball well enough to set up good birdie opportunities was a huge challenge.”

In addition to steady play from veterans on the roster, Kubinski said he also was pleased with several players making their debuts in the lineup.

“[Sophomore] Liam Cox was a great addition to our lineup,” Kubinski said. “Liam led us in the morning round with a 71 and then posted a very competitive 73 this afternoon. Senior Tyler Wingo, our other addition this week, did a solid job too (74-73). Both players were playing 36 holes for the first time in months, so I just tip my cap to their strong effort.”

In the end, Kubinski said he thinks the first day of play could be a springboard for even better rounds Monday.

“One thing we did today is keep all five players in the mix,” Kubinski said. “No one was to the point where they couldn’t contribute, which cost us in Minnesota. We need to continue that tomorrow. We have five very competitive players. With good play tomorrow, we can move up into the Top 3, with an eye on those top few teams falling back to the field a little.”

Notre Dame resumes play at Windon Memorial on Monday, Sept. 22, the tournament’s final day.

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