ND heads south for ACC championships
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, April 24, 2014
Notre Dame heads south this weekend to compete in their first ever ACC Championships at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
The 12-team field is headlined by such national powerhouses as No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 9 Virginia and No. 13 Virginia Tech. The Irish enter the competition with momentum after claiming their first win of the season at the Oak Hill Invitational in Rochester N.Y., on Tuesday.
In their first year in the conference, Notre Dame faces a tall order against the top of the conference. The ACC features four top-25 teams, while the Irish are currently ranked No. 99 in the nation, ahead of only No. 137 Maryland and No. 211 Boston College in the conference. The Irish sit within 15 spots of ACC adversaries Duke, North Carolina State and North Carolina.
The Blue Devils, ranked 85th in the country, won the ACC Championships last spring with a team score of 25 shots under par for the weekend in a field that included eight teams in the top 100. The Irish, in their final season in the Big East, finished in third place in their former conference after posting the best final round of any team.
For the Irish, senior captain Niall Platt will lead the team in the final weeks of his collegiate career. In Notre Dame’s sixth-place finish at the Irish Creek Collegiate on April 5-6, Platt enjoyed team-best rounds on all three days, finishing each round under par. He ended competition with a score of 209, good for a tie in second place. At the Oak Hill Invitational, Platt continued to play well, shooting his best round of the season (66) and taking medalist honors in his best finish all year.
Notre Dame’s top senior will be joined by freshman Matt Rushton, who will try to build on top-20 performances in the past two tournaments. At the Irish Creek Invitational, he had only one round above par. Like Platt, Rushton fared competitively against his ACC peers at Irish Creek, as he finished within two strokes of six ACC foes in the competition.
The Irish will step onto the course at the Old North State Club this weekend for the ACC championships in New London, N.C.