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Men’s Golf: Irish struggle to win

Cory Bernard | Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two tournaments into the season, the Irish have yet to taste victory. Both at the College of Charleston Invitational and the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, Notre Dame got off to a quick start, holding the lead in both events after the first day. However, the Irish were unable to finish strong in the last round of either tournament, twice finishing as the runner-up.

After having time to mull over this early trend, Irish coach Jim Kubinski says he isn’t worried.

“I’ve thought about it a lot,” Kubinski said. “There is a big difference between the two. The first tournament had a different format than usual. At Kiawah, we had three guys not play so well, and we didn’t get a fourth score and that really hurt us.”

Kubinski also credited the play of the competition, especially at Notre Dame’s home event.

“At Warren, a lot of guys played well,” Kubinski said. “Shooting 73’s is normally a good thing. Iowa was just playing so well.”

The Irish head coach also acknowledged some of the mental aspects of the game that may have had his players thinking too much.

“I think there is something to be said for them thinking too much about how they’re playing in context,” Kubinski said. “They might have been thinking about how good it would be to win.”

A desire to play winning golf is clearly not the issue for the Irish. Having been around the game for a while, including an 18 month stint at Duke University as an assistant golf coach prior to taking the job at Notre Dame, Kubinski speaks from experience in saying he believes in the competitive fire of his squad.

“These guys want to win so badly,” Kubinski said. “I’ve never been around a more competitive group of guys, even going back to my days at Duke.”

The point of emphasis during practice this week has been in focusing this competitive energy on the golf course, and preventing distractions from affecting Notre Dame’s play.

“I’ve been telling the guys, ‘just focus like it’s a Friday afternoon at Warren,'” Kubinski said. “People always want to know who’s playing in the field next week, and I try to downplay that and tell them to just be yourself and go play golf, and just let the results fall where they may.”