Irish crowned co-champions at home course
Kit Loughran | Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s (California) tied as co-champions of the 2015 Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic on Monday and Tuesday at the Warren Golf Course.
The host Irish and Gaels each posted a 2-under-par 850 to finish as co-champions in the three-round tournament. The teams’ scores stand as the second lowest scores in the tournament’s history. Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are now two-time tournament champions after winning the 2009 and 2011 titles, respectively.
“For us, our goal was to play our hearts out, get the best out of each round that we could and add it up when we finished,” Irish head coach James Kubinski said. “As it turned out, we posted the second lowest total (850) in school history.
“I’m proud of the effort we put together this week. We ended up 10-0-1 for the tournament, which is a nice boost of momentum for our young team.”
Individually, the younger members of the Irish squad saw success on the course. Junior Blake Barens posted his best finish career finish at 3-under-par 210 (71-70-69), earning him the second-place title, while freshmen Miguel Delgado (72-70-69-211) and Ben Albin (73-72-67-212) both finished in the top seven overall, at sixth and seventh place, respectively.
Barens saw a solid front nine Tuesday to secure a birdie at the par-3 ninth hole and make the turn at an even-par 35. He went on to birdie holes 10, 12, 14 and 16 for a back nine score 34. These five birdies contributed to Barens’ 16 tournament birdies, the most in the event’s field.
It was Albin, though, who had Notre Dame’s best round of the day, with seven birdies. He notched two sets of consecutive birdies at holes one and two and five and six, to land him at 4-under after the first six holes of the final round.
Senior Cory Scuipider carded a birdie at the 10th hole in his final round to finish the day with an 82 to tie for 64th (76-76-82-234) and seven birdies on the tournament.
After the first day of play, the Irish led the field with a two-round score of 569 (288-281). Junior Matthew Rushton’s second-round 2-under-par 69, and Barens’ and Delgado’s one-under 70s helped push the Irish one stroke ahead of Saint Mary’s after the opening 36 holes.
“We built a small lead [throughout the tournament] but, in all honesty, I’m not sure any of the teams knew exactly where they stood,” Kubinski said. “There are no scoreboards out there in college golf. There’s live scoring online, but players aren’t online while competing.”
Kubinski said his team’s familiarity with the course helped contribute to the players’ low rounds, though the course setup was fair for all competitors.
“For our guys, playing at home lends itself to the obvious familiarity with the course and a certain comfort level,” Kubinski said. “Comfort leads to confidence. We decided to set our golf course up this week with a goal of being challenging but fair. We achieved that goal.
“The majority of our field was over par, but the guys who played outstanding golf were able to post numbers under par.”
The Irish jump right back into tournament action at the two-day Tar Heel Invitational on Oct. 3 and 4 at North Carolina’s Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill.