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Men’s Golf: Irish struggle as low scores abound in Georgia

Conor Kelly | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

With favorable conditions leading to abnormally low scores at Forest Heights Country Club, Notre Dame had to make birdies to be competitive at the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga. over the weekend. The Irish struggled with their short game, however, and limped to a frustrating 12th-place finish in the 14-team field. Alabama, breaking the tournament record with a 47-under-par mark, took first.

“Everybody seemed to feel like they were hitting the ball pretty well,” sophomore Niall Platt said. “We just weren’t making putts. That was certainly the case for me.”

With no wind and temperatures in the 80s all weekend, the course surrendered a record number of low scores. Though the Crimson Tide were the chief beneficiaries of the course conditions and ran away with a 12-stroke victory, seven teams finished with aggregate scores below par. The Irish finished at 18 over par, beating out Minnesota and North Carolina State.

Friday saw the Irish sitting in ninth place after 18 holes, led by senior Max Scodro’s three-under 69, but the team failed to improve over the final two rounds. Saturday, the Irish carded the field’s highest score at five over par and were particularly hindered by poor play around the greens. Though Scodro finished one-under at 71, no other Irish golfer managed to come within two strokes of par. Sunday brought another lackluster round as the Irish slipped into 12th place where they would remain.

“Obviously we were pretty disappointed with the performance,” Platt said. “It was one of those weeks where we didn’t play horribly, but we needed our best to win, and we didn’t have it.”

Scodro finished in the top 25 for the sixth straight tournament, but the most encouraging performance might have come from an Irish golfer whose score was not counted. Sophomore Andrew Lane, who has been on the fringe of Notre Dame’s lineup all year, carded an even par three-round score of 216, good for 27th place individually. Competing as an individual, Lane’s score was second only to Scodro among the Irish golfers.

“We’re all pretty happy for Andrew,” Platt said. “He played pretty well when most of us didn’t. Coach [Irish coach Jim Kubinski] said he’ll definitely be in the lineup next week.”

The Irish will return to Georgia on Friday for the Linger Longer Invitational at Reynold’s Plantation Great Water’s Course, a course the Irish played in the week leading up to the Schenkel.

“We’re just looking forward to getting more rounds outside,” Platt said. “We haven’t played that many tournaments outside, and it really showed this weekend. We’ll get rounds in at the Warren this week, and we’ll be ready to go.”


Contact Conor Kelly at [email protected]