Irish tee off season with Kickoff Challenge
Sean Kilmer | Friday, August 28, 2015
While the rest of campus will be enjoying the first weekend back at school, Notre Dame will be opening its season at Warren Golf Course in the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge.
Irish head coach James Kubinski said he expects the team to treat this tournament seriously and would like to see the first step to a better year for the Irish after finishing 11th at the ACC championships last season.
“Our expectation this first week is to come out with great focus, compete, start building those good habits and give ourselves an opportunity to win,” Kubinski said.
The Irish did not lose any golfers from last season and welcome three freshmen to the program, Ben Albin, Kevin Conners and Miguel Delgado, all of whom could contribute this season, Kubinski said. Albin comes to Notre Dame on the heels of a high school state championship, where he birdied the final two holes to give his team a one-stroke victory.
With a trio of freshmen looking to contribute, Kubinski said he’s not quite sure of the mix of golfers who will compete this weekend.
“We’re determining right now how many of our freshmen will get in there,” Kubinski said. “All three have built highly-competitive résumés. I do expect good things from our returning guys. I like the work they’ve done these last few months.”
At the ACC championships in April, junior Blake Barens finished tied for 46th to lead the Irish at 11-over par for the tournament, while junior Matthew Rushton, senior Corey Sciupider and senior Tyler Wingo all finished within three strokes of Barens, giving the Irish a tight pack of golfers headed into this season.
While this is the first tournament of the season, Kubinski said he wants to see his team perform in tense situations from the start.
“Our goal is actually to apply some pressure,” Kubinski said. “I’d like to see our guys comfortable when things are considered by most to be uncomfortable. Learning to do so will allow them to tap into the physical talent they undoubtedly have. I really like this group. I believe in them.”
The Irish tee off Sunday at Warren Golf Course for the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge.