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Men’s Golf: Scodro leads squad to brink of conference title

Conor Kelly | Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Senior Max Scodro carded the only score lower than 70 in the tournament’s entire field, grabbed the individual lead and helped the Irish extend their first day lead as the Big East tournament heads into its final round.

“Max had a fantastic day today,” Irish coach Jim Jubinski said. “He even had a chance to do even better. He came into the par-five 17th thinking birdie but hit his only bad shot of the day on 17 and ended up with a bogey. It could have been a very special round.”

Despite windy conditions Monday, the Irish posted a 2-unde2 mark as a team, powered by Scodro’s 4-under round of 68.
The round puts the Irish seven strokes ahead of second-place Louisville with 18 holes of golf to plan Tuesday. After the Cardinals, Notre Dame’s closest competition is third-place St. John’s, 14 strokes back.

“Overall, I was very happy with how the guys played today,” Kubinski said. “They played through some very tough conditions out there, as they have for the last few weeks. It was really tough to know where some of the balls were heading today.”

Scodro’s impressive second-round performance slightly overshadowed the solid day of junior Paul McNamara, whose even-par 72 belied the fact that he played a o-under front nine and still remains in competition for the Big East individual title. McNamara’s 4-under-4 score through two rounds puts him just three strokes behind Scodro and one behind Louisville’s Justin Dorward, good for third place in the field individually. Senior Chris Walker, tied for sixth, rounds out the Irish representation in the top ten.

“Of all people today, I was very impressed with Paul [McNamara]. He played some great golf and is giving us the consistency we need,” Kubinski said. “Obviously, Max [Scodro] had a great round, but it’s good to see other guys stepping up.”

Though the Irish hold a seven-stroke lead over the Red Storm, Kubinski and his team know that no lead is safe. he noted at the same time that, barring catastrophe, it is likely a two-horse race between the Irish and Red Storm.

“Seven shots seems like a decent lead,” Kubinski said. “But when you think of it, that just means a couple of shots per golfer since we’re counting four. Anything could happen. It would take a lot for a team to come up from below, but we have to be very wary of St. John’s.”

This experienced and talented group has been in this position before. With the Irish in first and Scodro leading the field, the scene is eerily similar to the 2011 Big East championship in which both Notre Dame and Scodro took first. With 18 holes to gt, Kubinski hopes to achieve a similar result.

“We just have to take care of business tomorrow,” Kubinski said.

The Irish tee off today at 8:50 a.m. at the Reunion Resort Watson Course in Orlando, Fla.

Contact Conor Kelly at [email protected]