ND cruises to victory at season-opening tournament
Kit Loughran | Monday, September 1, 2014
Notre Dame opened its 2014-2015 campaign Sunday with a team victory at the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge at the Warren Golf Course.
The Irish began their fall season with a victory over IUPUI and Ball State at its home course, posting team rounds of 281 and 280 to shoot a seven-under par total of 561. They beat IUPUI by 19 strokes (286-294-580) and Ball State by 25 strokes (293-293-586).
“I’m just proud of our team [today],” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. “We spent the last year or two unable to get that third and fourth quality counting score. Our guys have worked very hard to grow and mature these last several months. Today saw us with four quality scores and multiple outstanding rounds.”Senior Patrick Grahek led the Irish lineup this weekend and carded a first-round 67 and second-round 69 to finish with a six-under par 136 in the 36-hole tournament. He co-medaled as the tournament’s individual winner with IUPUI senior Santiago Ruiz.
“My goal this year was to win a tournament, so now I want to win two,” Grahek said. “It was great to have the team win, [and it] was a huge team effort. Today was a blast and a great way to start the year.”
Junior Cory Sciupider and sophomore Matt Rushton contributed to that team effort on the course. Sciupider shot a three-over-par 75 in the morning and then came back in the second round to shoot the tournament’s individual lowest 18-hole score of five-under-par 66. Sciupider finished with a 36-hole score of one-under-par. Rushton started the day with a first-round 68 and finished the second round at 70 for a total of four-under-par and a third-place finish overall.
Sophomore Blake Barens carded scores of 73 and 75 for an overall six-over-par score of 148 and a 10th place finish. Freshman Thomas Steve shot a first-round 73 and second-round 76 as he followed Barens with a seven-over-par score of 149 and a share of 11th place.
“I am really pleased that all five starters all posted at least one round that counted toward our team total,” Kubinski said. “It was a team win today. Our strongest assets today were our resolve and attitude. We had opportunities to let shots slip away in both rounds but showed growing maturity out there. It didn’t seem like any missed shot or putt bothered any of our players today. I was proud of our effort in those ways.”
Senior David Lowe, sophomore Liam Cox and junior Zach Toste also competed in the invitational, but golfed separately from the Irish in the individual draw.
Now that the Irish have their first competition under their belt, they continue to move forward with their fall campaign, Kubinski said.. The team will begin preparation for its next tournament at the Minnesota Gopher Invitational on Sept. 7 and 8.
“We’ll get back to work on Tuesday, preparing in the same ways we did this past week, understanding that our development is a process requiring a consistent approach,” Kubinski said.
The Irish will tee off again in the Minnesota Gopher Invitation on Sept. 7 and 8 at the Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minn.