Irish unable to avoid trouble in Durham
Sean Kilmer | Monday, September 14, 2015
At the Rod Myers Invitational this past weekend, the Irish finished 12th out of 14 teams on an unforgiving course.
Wake Forest earned a one-stroke victory over Duke, and Penn State rounded out the podium 13 strokes back of the Demon Deacons. Irish head coach Jim Kubinski said he had expected the weather to be a huge obstacle, yet instead he said the speed of the course was the biggest challenge for his players.
“Weather was not a huge factor overall,” Kubinski said. “The wind today impacted scores some. The firmness of the greens and overall speed, especially with the hole locations, had a more significant impact. The average score over the entire field of competitors was 77 today. That’s very, very high for college golf. Seventy-four was a good score.”
Despite the tough conditions, freshman Ben Albin shot a 227 (78-75-74) to finish 41st overall, the top among all Irish golfers. He bounced back from a birdie-less first round with a birdie on the first hole in the second round, and that set the tone for his improved play over the course of the weekend, Kubinski said.
Fellow freshman Miguel Delgado finished fifth for the Irish and tied for 65th overall with a 236 (74-85-77), mostly because of the 85 he shot in the second round. Kubinski chalked that score up to an alignment issue, and it has since been fixed.
“I think our freshmen learned a great deal,” Kubinski said. “Ben played pretty well throughout but didn’t make the putts he normally does. He’ll bounce back this weekend. Miguel had an alignment issue for a long stretch this weekend, but we figured it out. He finished up making eagle on his last hole which should put a smile on his face and have him ready for our home tournament this weekend.”
The difficult course punished the Irish upperclassmen too, but Kubinski said he did not think they played as badly as some of their scores reflected. After finishing tied for second overall in the tournament last year junior Matt Rushton shot a 228 (73-76-79) to claim a share of 42nd place. Kubinski noted he was probably too aggressive given the course conditions.
Junior Blake Barens and senior Corey Sciupider finished tied for 54th and 64th, respectively. On a course where a missed shot was especially costly, they just missed a few too, Kubinski said.
“Each player has his own reasons for not playing the way he can,” Kubinski said. “I think Matt would tell you that he was a little too aggressive, given the conditions. Our two freshmen needed some time to settle in, to get comfortable. Ben’s 74 today probably beat two-thirds of the field. Cory and Blake can play a lot better. The course magnified the little bit they were off in stretches, making it seem they were way off their games when it was more of any miss leaving a player in a tough spot.”
The Irish are playing in the Fighting Irish Golf Classic this weekend, which will be held at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.