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MEN’S GOLF: Greens on Irish minds in Georgia

Fran Tolan | Friday, March 30, 2007

The Irish will have their work cut out for them this weekend as they head to the Administaff Augusta State Invitational in Evans, Ga., along with 10 of the nation’s top-50 teams. Notre Dame senior co-captain Cole Isban said his team must focus on its short game in order to be competitive with such strong competition. “The field is one of the best we’ve faced,” said Isban. “If we don’t putt well, we’re going to be left in the dust.” The No. 54 Irish played a practice round at the Champions Retreat Golf Course Thursday, and Isban noted that the greens had an unusual pace. “The greens were just changed, and they were pretty slow,” Isban said. “That’s something we’re going to have to adjust to.”Along with Isban, the Irish will send senior co-captain Adam Gifford, junior Eddie Peckels, sophomore Josh Sandman and freshman Doug Fortner onto the links in the 54-hole event. “I think we’re all playing pretty well,” Isban said. The Irish have faced 12 of the 17 other teams in this weekend’s field but have gone just 4-12-1 in those matchups. “We faced a pretty good field at Sawgrass [Country Club in the John Hayt Invitational] but this might be the best one we’ve seen,” Isban said. Isban emphasized his team’s efficiency on the greens this weekend. “It’s going to come down to whether we can make our putts,” he said.This year marks the fourth in a row in which the Irish have competed in the Administaff Invitational, which was held at Forest Hills Golf Club until 2006. The teams expect near-optimal conditions for the weekend. “It’s a little bit cooler than we expected but we have no complaints,” Isban said.