Notre Dame hosts Gridiron Golf Classic
Kit Loughran | Monday, September 21, 2015
The Irish host the 10th-annual Gridiron Golf Classic on Monday and Tuesday at Warren Golf Course.
The first round of the two-day event tees off today at 9:30 a.m. with a shotgun start, which will be immediately followed by the second round at the par-71 Warren Golf Course. Tuesday’s round begins at 8:30 a.m. The competition field includes Ball State, Dartmouth, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Loyola (Md.), Notre Dame, St. Mary’s (Calif.), Utah State, William & Mary, Wisconsin, Wofford and Xavier.
Irish head coach James Kubinski created the Gridiron Golf Classic in 2006 as a way to give Notre Dame’s competitors more than just a taste of its home course, Kubinski said.
“Mike Isban and I came up with the idea of hosting a tournament here at our Warren [Golf Course] that we hoped would offer a picture of what a Fall weekend at [Notre Dame] was all about,” Kubinski said. “We wanted the visiting teams to enjoy a football game and see our campus over the weekend, before competing on what we feel is the best college course in the country.
“From the feedback, I believe we’ve provided a memorable weekend for all over the years.”
And while Notre Dame provides a memorable weekend for the its competitors, the Irish get to enjoy playing to their home course advantage after having just competed in the Rod Myers Invitational. The Irish placed 12th at the Rod Myers Invitational tournament at Duke Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina.
“When we have a tournament at home it gives us a sense of comfort because we really know the course that we’re playing on,” senior Zach Toste said. “Being at home just adds to our confidence because we all know we can and will do well here. And having our friends and family come out to support us is always great too.”
The Irish won the Gridiron Golf Classic in 2009 when they were led by then-senior Josh Sandman, who also earned the medalist honors with a two-over par 212 (70-68-74) for his first career title.
Kubinski said the Irish are looking to add to his program’s 2009 Gridiron win and several runner-up finishes.
“I want to see us execute the way we do in practice, beginning to thrive on the competitive environment that each tournament offers,” Kubinski said. “We have some players who can really play. It’s time for us to show that off a bit, to be comfortable posting the scores we see so often in our qualifying.
“It’s just a function of trusting our routines and staying patient and positive.”
Notre Dame will play its entire 10-man roster, led by a probable starting five of junior Matthew Rushton, freshmen Ben Albin and Miguel Delgado, senior Cory Sciupider and junior Blake Barens.
Albin finished top for the Irish Notre Dame at the Rod Myers Invitational on Sept. 12, posting three birdies and an eagle during the third round. Five bogies and a double bogey added seven strokes to his score, which changed his tally to two-over-par 74. He finished 41st at 11 over par (78-75-74).
Rushton came in second for the Irish, with a seven-over 79 on the second day for an overall score of 228. One place behind Albin, Rushton claimed a share of 42nd place at 12 over par for 54 holes (73-76-79).
By gaining tournament experience and earning individual successes this season, Toste said he’s seen his teammates help grow the team in a positive direction.
“This season our team vibe is much different than before,” Toste said. “We all are really focused on getting better and enjoying ourselves.
“Our team dynamic is really going to take us far. Between our talented underclassmen and upperclassman leadership, the team flows really nicely.”
The Irish is hosting the 10th-annual Gridiron Golf Classic on Monday and Tuesday at Warren Golf Course. Today’s first round is scheduled to go out at 9:30 a.m.