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Men’s Golf: Freshman Platt adapts well to Division I competition

Cory Bernard | Wednesday, September 22, 2010

While Niall Platt admits there’s a learning curve as he transitions from tiny Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, Calif., to Division I golf at Notre Dame, it’s tough to find evidence of one.

After playing most tournaments solo throughout his high school career, Platt was excited by the opportunity to play with a group of teammates who share his talents.

“I’ve never really been on a good golf team; the team environment was a first for me,” Platt said.

As it turned out, Platt did quite a bit of the heavy lifting for the Irish, rather than the other way around. For his opening act, the freshman fired a one-over-par 217 to finish in a tie for second place overall in Notre Dame’s runner-up finish at the College of Charleston Invitational at Kiawah Island, S.C.

The pressure of playing his first tournament for the Irish on The Ocean Course, one of the toughest in the nation, never affected his play. The rookie did not shy away from the spotlight, admitting that he was comfortable at the highly competitive Invitational.

“I wasn’t thinking as much about my individual scores, which takes the pressure off, knowing the team’s going to pick you up,” Platt said. “It was the most fun I’ve had in a golf tournament.”

Irish head coach James Kubinski was one of many who came away impressed after Platt’s performance, and the talented freshman said he does not take the Kubinski’s trust for granted.

“It means a lot to me, to know he has such confidence in me,” Platt said.

Platt said the confidence of both the coach and player is largely a result of the team’s excellent chemistry and the Irish coaching staff.

“The guys on the team are great characters, very welcoming, and the coaches are helpful too in getting me adjusted,” Platt said.

With a full season still ahead, Platt acknowledged that the Irish roster is laden with talented upperclassmen and he had a lot to learn from his teammates.

“They have all played really well in their careers. I’m trying to learn from them as much as I can,” Platt said

Given Platt’s impressive performance so far, it’s also possible the other golfers could learn a thing or two from him.