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Men’s Golf: ND tied for first at Big East championship

Cory Bernard | Monday, April 18, 2011

Notre Dame entered the Big East championship Sunday as the top seed, and after one round of play has lived up to expectations, finishing in a tie for first with Louisville.

Irish coach Jim Kubinski said his team did exactly what he wanted on the first day in Palm Harbor, Fla., on the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course.

“The guys did a good job,” he said. “On the first day you just want to play solid and stay within contact. They accomplished the mission today.”

Junior Max Scodro led the Irish with a one-under-par 70 to finish the day tied for third in the individual standings.

Freshman Niall Platt also played well in his first Big East championships action, carding a one-over-par 72 to finish in a tie for sixth individually.

Kubinski praised Scodro’s efforts, but said he missed on a few opportunities.

“Max shot it best,” Kubinski said. “He had a few chips where if he hit it like he normally does he could easily have ended up with a 66 or 67.”

Overall the Irish finished with a nine-over-par 293 for the day. The team score would have improved markedly without junior Chris Walker’s uncharacteristic struggles. Walker opened the day with a double bogey, recovering to finish the front nine at one-over-par. However, he bogeyed three of the final four holes and finished with a five-over-par 76. Kubinski said Walker should be ready on Monday after identifying a problem in his swing.

“Chris played really well for a while but those last four holes he just hit the ball poorly,” he said. “He never really hit that well all day. He’s a good ball striker and ordinarily he’ll hit 12-14 greens, but today he only hit five or six.”

Sunday’s weather and course conditions made the going difficult for all competitors. The Copperhead Course hosted the PGA’s Transitions Championship from March 17-20. The course must be adjusted for professional golfers and changed back to its normal layout after hosting the Transitions. Kubinski said this change made for some difficult greens that, in addition to swirling wind, challenged his team.

“They did some adjustment to the greens which created some really tough areas,” he said. “Plus the wind was difficult. If wind stays steady, we have no problem with it, even if its 15 to 20 miles per hour.”

Notre Dame returns to action today for the second round of the Big East championships.