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Men’s Golf: Golfers return from Ireland ready for fall

Michael Blasco | Friday, August 22, 2008

A leg up on the competition never hurts, and the Notre Dame men’s golf team got a big one on its recent trip.

Nine returning members of the Notre Dame men’s golf team came back to South Bend last Saturday after a week-long trip to Ireland. The Irish spent the week in Killarney, Co. Kerry, a picturesque town in southern Ireland famous for the links-style golf courses in the area. The team, accompanied by coaches Jim Kubinski and Steve Colnitis, as well as several guests, played several matches at the local clubs.

Head coach Kubinski kept a daily blog during the trip. In his concluding remarks, he offers a warm opinion of his stay in Ireland.

“It was an incredible week in so many ways,” Kubinski wrote. “We ate well, stayed comfortably, were treated exceptionally well and played some of the greatest courses in the world. We were truly blessed to have experienced a week of golf in Ireland…[it] will surely become a lifelong memory.”

Despite rainy and blustery weather, Notre Dame golfers outscored the locals on their own courses, posting a 6-1 record against the Waterville and Tralee Junior Clubs. The golfers often battled heavy winds, which occasionally reached 40 miles per hour on the unforgiving links courses. Junior Doug Fortner had a particularly memorable trip, shooting a 67 at Ballybunion and a 70 at Tralee, two of the most demanding courses in the world.

Several weeks before accompanying the golfers on their trip, Kubinski agreed to terms on a multi-year extension with the University. Kubinski, in his fourth year with the Irish, has guided the program to consecutive Big East Conference titles in 2005 and 2006, as well as the top three single season scoring averages in Notre Dame history.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be continuing what we’ve started to build here at Notre Dame,” Kubinski said. “When I was hired, I said that coaching at Notre Dame was a dream come true. This is where I want to be, and it couldn’t be at a better time. Our program has made great strides and, given our returning roster and recruiting efforts, the future looks very bright.”

A graduate of Springfield College, Kubinski came to the Irish in January 2005 after two seasons as an assistant at Duke University. In 2007, Golf Magazine listed Kubinski among the top 100 golf instructors in the United States.

“It’s a special place and a special time,” Kubinski said. “I’ll continue to play whatever small role I can in building on those things [that improve the program].”

Notre Dame formally begins its fall campaign at the USF Olympic Club Intercollegiate Tournament on September 8th, at the Olympic Club in Daly City, Calif.