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Men’s Golf

Young Notre Dame roster makes strides

| Friday, May 13, 2016

To finish a season focused on developing a young roster, Notre Dame placed 10th out of 12 teams at the ACC Championships.

Some premier events this spring were the Yestingsmeier Match Play Invitational, National Invitational Tournament, Auburn University Tiger Invitational, Border Olympics and Clemson Invitational.

Overall, Irish head coach Jim Kubinski could not bring himself to call the season a success because the team did not make the NCAA tournament, which is an expectation for his team each year.

“We’re never going to call a season when we miss out on the NCAA tournament a success,” Kubinski said. “Having competed at NCAAs in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012 as a team and with NCAA individual players in 2008 and 2014, during my tenure, we feel our place is on the national landscape come championship season.”

Senior Zach Toste hits his from the fairway at the Battle at the Warren at the Warren Golf Course on April 16. Toste finished tied for eighth.Michael Yu | The Observer

Senior Zach Toste hits his from the fairway at the Battle at the Warren at the Warren Golf Course on April 16. Toste finished tied for eighth.

However, Kubinski said he realizes his team is composed of all underclassmen while all of his NCAA teams had strong senior leaders.

“Our best teams had great upper class leadership, often seniors who had grown through their years here,” Kubinski said. “We had developing leaders this year and, of course, no senior starters. In that light, I do think we accomplished a number of very positive things this season, especially in the last month or so. It’s those positives and continued work, which will see us back at NCAAs next season.”

In addition to the need for the current underclassmen to step up as leaders next year, there is also a need to bolster the program with top-ranked high school talent. Kubinski said that he has been on the recruiting tail, signing three superior golfers from the 2016 class.

“We’re adding three highly ranked incoming players, which means we’ll have the most competition for lineup spots come August since our back-to-back NCAA teams in 2011 and 2012,” Kubinski said.

Looking back at this season, Kubinski said he especially liked the team’s performance at home and said he hopes that the players will gain the same amount of comfort playing on the road.

“Our play at home this season really stands out,” Kubinski said. “To win our larger September tournament and the smaller field event here in April, going undefeated at home, gives us a foundation. We need to take this out on the road and, to some extent, we started to see that the last two rounds at ACCs.”

According to Kubinski, there is no reason why the Irish shouldn’t be in the hunt for the NCAA tournament next season. He said they have all the elements necessary to take the team to the next level.

“There’s no doubt our team should be an NCAA contender next season,” Kubinski said. “Our goal will be a return to the national landscape. We’ll have a great deal more experience, players looking to build on successes from this season, growing and improving players in the mix and three highly ranked freshmen to add to our team.”

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