ND opens spring season in California
Observer Sports Staff | Sunday, February 22, 2015
After a break of almost four months, Notre Dame opens its spring season at Valencia Country Club in Valencia, California, today at the Jones Invitational.
The Irish will bring a starting five of sophomores Matthew Rushton, Liam Cox and Blake Barens and seniors Patrick Grahek and Tyler Wingo to California for the event, where they will form part of a 15-team field. After a 13th-place finish in the last event of the fall season, the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Irish will hope to rebound and start their spring season with more success. Over the winter break, the Irish spent time with sports psychologist Dr. Rob Bell, hoping to regain their rhythm.
Rushton returns to the course for the Irish after a successful fall season, where he earned five top-25 finishes in his six starts and tied for second place at the Rod Myers Invitational at Duke University Golf Club in October.
Grahek started all six events the Irish entered in the fall season as well and earned a first-place finish at the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge in August.
Wingo has made four starts this year, tying for 33rd at the Fighting Irish Golf Classic in September and shooting a two-under-par 70 during the second round of the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate.
Cox has made three starts and four total appearances this year, including a 16th-place finish at the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge.
Barens started two events and competed in four this year, including a tie for 10th place at the Kickoff Challenge.
The Valencia golf course is a tree-lined, bermuda grass course with fast greens and tall grass in the rough, playing at over 7,000 yards with a par of 72.
The field at the Jones Invitational will consist both of local teams such as USC and Pepperdine, as well as schools from farther afield like Georgia State and South Carolina Upstate.
The tournament begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday. The second round will begin with a continuous transition when the opening round ends.