Notre Dame looks to build on strong start
Manuel De Jesus | Friday, September 9, 2016
Looking to build on their historic start at the Notre Dame Kickoff Invitational, the Irish will travel to San Francisco to compete in the Olympic Club Intercollegiate on Monday and Tuesday.
The Irish started the season off by making a statement last weekend, winning their invitational by 23 strokes over Valparaiso and Detroit. Notre Dame also set their lowest 36-hole tournament score, recording an 11-under-par 557. Despite returning eight upperclassmen, it was a couple of fresh faces who led the charge for the Irish.
Freshmen John Felitto and Hunter Ostrom finished first and third, respectively. Felitto, who tied for the fourth-best round in Irish history with a score of 65 Saturday afternoon, shot a 7-under-par 135, while Ostrom recorded a 4-under 138 in his collegiate debut.
Despite it being their first time out on the course as collegiate golfers, Felitto and Ostrom were much more concerned about qualifying for the Olympic Club Intercollegiate than controlling their debut jitters.
“I really wasn’t that nervous at all during that first event,” Ostrom said. “I was a lot more focused on just qualifying for our first event at Olympic Club, which I was in pretty good shape for leading by one at 5-under for four rounds, so I was just going to try and play two good rounds.”
As they move forward to next week’s Olympic Club Intercollegiate, the Irish are confident their potential this season is far above the 10th–place ACC finish they earned last season.
“We are all thinking very highly about this upcoming week,” Ostrom said. “There’s a lot more trust, in my opinion, in each other that will lead to us all shooting some good numbers. It will help take the pressure off of the team aspect and allow us to just worry about ourselves and our own game. We’re a different level of a team this year compared to years previous and I think that our scores will show it in this upcoming week and the many tournaments to come.”
Playing at the oldest athletic club in the United States, Notre Dame will compete against San Diego, TCU, UC Davis, Cal Poly, Santa Clara, Fresno State, host school San Francisco and others.
Last season, Notre Dame started the season off with a second-place finish at the Notre Dame Kickoff Invitational and lost all momentum the following competition, finishing 12th out of 14 teams at the Rod Myers Invitational.
Ostrom said this team is bound for a much better result in this year’s second invitational.
“I think there is just a completely different mindset about our season right now,” Ostrom said. “We are all very focused and that is being shown by the scores we are producing so far. And we all want to win very badly so I think that’s a good combination for some good golf in these bigger events.”
Notre Dame will begin the two-day Olympic Club Intercollegiate tournament Monday morning, with play concluding on Tuesday.