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Men’s Golf: ND alumni to reunite with current team in Fla.

Conor Kelly | Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coming off a victory at the Match Play in Orlando, Fla., and facing a month off of NCAA competition before the prestigious Schenkel Invitational, the Irish will bridge the gap with the Alumni Match Weekend beginning Saturday at the Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The event will feature the present Irish team paired with Notre Dame golf alumni, both as a practice round for the team and as a means of building cohesion within the program.

“It’s a two-fold goal we have here,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “One on hand, it’s a huge part of our preparation for the spring, but it’s also a nice bonus to have the guys interact with the alumni. They have a chance to talk to the graduates, and they learn a lot from these interactions.”

Continuing their strong, consistent play from the opening event of the season will be a priority for the Irish. Sophomore Niall Platt was named Big East golfer of the week for his 4-0 record at the Match Play.

“It’s pretty neat for Platt because he has a lot of competition not just in the conference but on his own team, with guys like Max [Scodro] and Tom [Usher] who have previously taken home honors,” Kubinski said. “The attention is well-deserved. He has a great all-around game.”

Kubinski attributes both Platt’s and the team’s strong early performance to the unusually high number of rounds the Irish have gotten in outdoors, outside of the confines of the Rolfs Family Varsity Golf Facility at Warren Golf Course.

“For the first time that I’ve been here, we’ve played five times in February,” Kubinski said. “I think it really makes a difference, and the more that we play outdoors the better off we’ll be.”

The Irish may not have to wait long to be outside for good. With temperatures on Wednesday reaching the 60s, the forecast is good for an early opening of Notre Dame’s home course. Currently, the Warren is scheduled to open for play March 15.

“We’re really excited about the prospect of getting out on the course early,” Kubinski said. “I’ve been over there, and it doesn’t look like it took too bad of a hit from winter. It’s encouraging.”

Following the Alumni Match Weekend, the Irish will stay in the south for their spring break, playing practice rounds along the route from South Carolina to Statesboro, Ga., the location of the Schenkel Invitational.