Notre Dame hosts Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic
Mike Ginocchio | Thursday, September 25, 2014
Notre Dame returns home for the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic this Sunday, hoping to replicate its early season success at Warren Golf Course.
For senior Patrick Grahek, the biggest goal for the team this weekend is finishing an entire tournament strongly.
“As a team we are still trying to finish 54 solid holes of competition,” Grahek said. “We have been close individually with each of us having good 36 or 45 hole stretches, but this week our big focus is staying in the moment to focus for all 54 holes. If we can do that, we will have a chance to win week-in and week-out.”
The Irish will also benefit from a stable lineup with no new adjustments.
“The lineup this week has not changed since this last weekend,” Grahek said. “Our team was only 10 shots out of first after 36 holes last week with half of our guys not performing their best. We have home field advantage this week and will definitely gain some confidence and comfort from playing at home.
“We do not feel any need or necessity to win this weekend. So as long as we play our games and put together our best rounds individually, the team result will take care of itself.”
At the Windon Memorial Classic last weekend, Sophomore Matt Rushton had the strongest showing of anyone on the team, placing fifth in pars with 38 and finishing 14th overall in the individual field. Senior Tyler Wingo closed the invitational with lowest final round score on the team for the final day, finishing two-over par on Sunday and 41st overall. Wingo also led the Irish with a team low of 3.25 strokes on par-three holes. Grahek and sophomore Liam Cox tied for 45th place, the third and fourth finishers for the Irish in the tourney.
Grahek, in addition to being confident in the team’s steadiness, said he looks forward to the advantages the team has playing at home.
“This weekend is particularly nice to be at home so that we can remain in our comfort zones around campus,” Grahek said. “[Both] at our varsity golf facility and with our families in town to support us. It will be an emotional week for the seniors as it will be our last chance to compete at our home course.”
There is also another element to the Irish’s homestand that gives Grahek confidence.
“We are undefeated at home so far this year, individually and as a team, and we are planning to hold onto that pride,” Grahek said.
The Irish opened the season at the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge, winning the team competition by 19 strokes and placing three golfers in the top five individually. Grahek tied for the top spot, the highest finish in his career.
The Irish take the course for the last time this fall season at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic beginning Sunday, while play carries through to next Tuesday.