Irish stumble to second-to-last to open spring season
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Notre Dame kicked off the spring portion of its season at the two-day Jones Invitational at the Valencia Country Club in Los Angeles, California, ultimately finishing in 14th place, near the back of the pack.
After two rounds Monday, the Irish found themselves tied for 13th with a total score of 602, 26 strokes over par. With a third round score of 305, the team dropped further down the scoreboard and finished with a final score of 907 for 43 over par.
USC finished the tournament atop the leaderboard with a final team score of 850 (277-288-285, -14), while Kennesaw State took second with 866 strokes (282-289-295, +2) and Northwestern coming in third with 870 (288-290-292, +6).
Individually, sophomore Blake Barens paced Notre Dame throughout the tournament with a final score of 226 (74-76-76, +10), good for 45th place overall. He notched five birdies for the tournament.
Senior Patrick Grahek, checking in at 48th overall, scored a 227 (72-77-78, +11). His even-par first round Monday morning was the best performance of the tournament for the Irish, and he carded three birdies in a row on the front nine. However, his final round of six-over-par was fifth on the day for Notre Dame.
Sophomore Liam Cox provided a consistent presence for Notre Dame throughout the two-day tournament. Carding a 230 (77-77-76, +14) overall, Cox finished tied for 59th overall in the individual standings.
Finishing in a tie for 66th place after three rounds, senior Tyler Wingo and sophomore Matthew Rushton both ended up with 232 strokes. Though he went through a rough stretch to start his first round on Monday with four bogeys through six holes, Rushton provided a highlight for his team when he eagled the par-5 ninth hole. Then Tuesday, Rushton again rolled into the cup of the same hole on his third stroke, good for his second eagle in as many days.
Even though Notre Dame started the spring season in second-to-last place, the Irish will have more chances throughout the semester to prepare both for the ACC championship in April and the NCAA championship at the end of May.
The team returns to tournament action when it travels back to California for the Lamkin San Diego Classic at the San Diego Country Club, another two-day tournament that will begin March 9.