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Men’s Golf: Wet course to present opportunity for Irish

Douglas Farmer | Friday, September 25, 2009

Notre Dame will tee off on a submerged golf course today.

The Irish are competing in the three-day Vanderbilt Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn., over the weekend, and in the past week and a half, nearly six and a half inches of rain has fallen on the course.

While the water on the course will change how the Irish play, it may work to the team’s advantage.

“There isn’t going to be much roll out there, so the guys who can carry the ball a bit longer [have an advantage],” coach Jim Kubinski said. “We have three or four guys who can get good carry distance, so we may have a bit of an advantage and should be able to compete well.”

In his first tournament with the Irish this season, sophomore Chris Walker is a perfect fit for a tournament that turns into a long-ball contest.

“Chris is one of the longest in the college game, especially when he wants to be,” Kubinski said. “He is trying to control his game a bit more this year, and that is good, but he definitely has the potential to carry the ball out there.”

Walker is not the only deep threat for Notre Dame, Kubinski said.

“[Senior] Josh [Sandman] and [junior] Connor Allan-Lee can both hit the ball a great distance,” Kubinski said. “[Senior] Carl Santos-Ocampo will be fine too. He played at the U.S. Amateur Championships, which is very long and he competed well there.”

The fifth player for the Irish this weekend will be senior Doug Fortner, who struggled to a fifth-place team finish at the team’s first meet on Sept. 14.

“Doug has been a great player for us the last three years,” Kubinski said. “He came out of Minnesota last week not playing well. He knows it, but he has been practicing well this week and looks like the old Doug coming back to form.”

If Fortner comes back to form, he will do it while facing stiff competition from 16 teams, including No. 3 Georgia Tech and host Vanderbilt, as well as three other SEC teams.

“One of the things we are committed to philosophy-wise is we want to be a national team playing a national schedule, much like the philosophy of our football team,” Kubinski said. “Basically we are going to play the best teams from the best conferences and it will make us better.”