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Men’s Golf: Irish tied for first after day one at Firestone

Cory Bernard | Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Irish started off their third tournament of the year with a bang, finishing the first two rounds of the Firestone Invitational in a tie for first place with Indiana University. Both teams finished with a 12-under-par 564 and have distanced themselves from the field.

With tournaments so far at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and Notre Dame’s own Warren Course, the Irish have played on some nationally-renowned courses. According to Irish coach Jim Kubinski, Firestone Country Club’s North Course in Akron, Ohio, is no different.

“It’s right in line with the first two,” Kubinski said.

Kubinski acknowledged that for his team has to earn the right to play in invitationals on such prestigious courses.

“That’s the neat thing about college golf,” Kubinski said. “You don’t have your schedule set in advance. We have to get invitations.”

Integral to these invitations is his team’s body of work, and Kubinski noted that only two quality schools have gotten the better of Notre Dame this year.

“The only two teams to beat us this year, Iowa and NC State, finished one-two in Duke’s tournament, so it shows you how good they are,” Kubinski said.

Notre Dame’s play on Monday lived up to the expectations set forth so far this season, and freshman Niall Platt in particular helped the Irish keep up with the field in the first round.

“We were lucky this morning, Niall really kept us in it,” Kubinski said. “He shot that 65, one of the top three or four (scores) in Notre Dame history.”

After a first round 284, Notre Dame stepped up to deliver an eight-under-par 280 in the afternoon. Kubinski credited the improved play of the rest of his squad, particularly juniors Max Scodro and Chris Walker.

“Max had two eagles, Chris shot a 69,” Kubinski said of the juniors’ second round efforts. “They really did a great job taking advantage of the par fives and putted really well.”

Another positive for the Irish after the first day at Firestone was the debut of freshman Andrew Lane. Although not competing for the team, he entered as an individual and finished with a seven-over-par 157 for two rounds. Kubinski expects the talented first-year golfer to eventually contribute to the team score this season.

“He would tell you he didn’t play real well,” Kubinski said. “He’s very talented, and I would expect him to break into the top five at some point this season.”