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MEN’S GOLF: Bayou beckoning Kubinski and Co.

Ken Fowler | Monday, February 28, 2005

Whether it be a Green Wave or a Rip Tide, the Irish will try to stay out of the water for the next two days, as the team competes in the Bayou with a dozen other schools in the Tulane Invitational.

In action for the first time since Nov. 2, the Irish travel to New Orleans today to kick off the spring season with the two-day tournament at the water-laden English Turn Golf and Country Club.

The Tulane Invitational also marks the beginning of a new coaching era for Irish golf. Exactly one month after his hiring as new Irish head coach, Jim Kubinski will lead the team in his first competition at the new position.

After former coach John Jasinski resigned Dec. 7 for personal reasons, Notre Dame contacted the former Duke assistant for the vacancy. Athletic director Kevin While introduced Kubinski as new coach on Jan. 28.

For Kubinski and the Irish, competition in New Orleans begins with thirty-six holes today, followed by a single round tomorrow.

Among the thirteen teams in the field, Ole Miss enters the Invitational on the heels of a first-place finish at the All-South Collegiate Invitational two weeks ago. The University of New Orleans captured second in its own tournament, the River City Classic. In addition, UNC-Wilmington placed second in the Feb. 14-15 UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate tournament.

The Irish, on the other hand, have gone nearly four months since last swinging in intercollegiate competition.

Though home to a more palatable climate for February golf than South Bend, both Southern Miss and Southeastern Louisiana also join Notre Dame in making this tournament the first of their spring season.

Despite the disadvantage of coming off the winter break to face teams that have already gotten their swings back, the Irish have reasons to be confident heading into the tournament.

By winning the Big East Championship on the Warren Golf Course last year, the 2003-04 squad was the first Irish men’s golf team to qualify for NCAA post-season play since 1966.

That success continued into this fall, when the squad po-sted a 298.67 stroke average – third best in Irish history.

Sophomore Cole Isban capped off the team’s impressive fall with his individual second-place finish at The Prestige at PGA WEST, leading the Irish to a tenth-place finish there.

After the Tulane Invitational, Notre Dame heads to Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida for the Mar. 7-8 Irish Spring Invitational.