Irish win Georgetown tournament; struggle to finish break in Florida
Manuel De Jesus | Thursday, October 27, 2016
Over the break, Notre Dame came away with another team title and invitational medalist at the Georgetown Intercollegiate in Beallsville, Maryland, but back end of the road trip was featured fatigue and a 13th place finish at the McNeese State Quail Valley Collegiate Invitational on Tuesday.
On the front end of the break at Georgetown, the Irish finished the two-day event 12 strokes ahead of the Hoyas, who finished second with a score of six-over-par 858. The team win was the second team victory of the fall season, and it also marked the second straight event that the Irish had the tournament’s top individual. Sophomore Ben Albin finished four-under par on day one, three-under par on day two and finished the tournament with another three-under-par performance to finish two strokes ahead of the next golfer.
Albin’s medalist performance gave Notre Dame two straight medalist performances, which hasn’t been done since the fall of 1990.
“[Senior] Blake’s [Baren] performance at [the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic] was really inspiring for me,” Albin said. “It was about a week before we went to Georgetown, and just to see that he could break through and win his first full field tournament of the season really inspired me to know that I can do the same thing. I went to [Georgetown] with the goal of really the first time to go out and win the tournament. When I was able to win the one at Georgetown, it really helped the rest of our team. The momentum from Blake’s win really carried over to that week.”
In addition to Albin, Barens finished tied for fifth with a three-day score of two-under-par 211. The next two closest Irish golfers, sophomore Miguel Delgado and senior Matt Rushton, finished tied for 21st with scores of six-over-par 219 .
After walking away from Georgetown with the team title, the Irish traveled to Vero Beach, Florida to compete in the McNeese State Invitational, and while the team went in with high expectations, the fatigue from the week’s travel schedule played a factor when facing a field of 15 teams. Notre Dame finished 13th with a 54-hole score of 14-over-par 878. Michigan State took the team title with a score of 29-under-par 835.
Delgado led the way for the Irish on Monday and Tuesday to finish tied for 21st.
“Some of the guys that didn’t play as well felt fatigued during the week,” Delgado said. “It was a very busy week, and even between the tournaments we were playing a lot of golf. I just know personally that I was tired and kind of ready to be back at school, but just stopping those emotions and being able to fight through them and still play good golf at a high level is something that we need to watch more of when we’re on long periods of play.”
Notre Dame didn’t wrap up the fall season the way it would have liked to, but it recognizes that there has been substantial improvement from last fall season, which is one of the significant positives that the team will take into the offseason.
“Last fall we didn’t get to have as big of a sample size,” Albin said. “We only got to play three full field events, and that one smaller one we hosted at the beginning of the year. I think it was a knock to our confidence not having a larger sample size and not doing well at two of the three big ones we played.
“We all knew that we were going to have a good chance to compete and help the team out this year knowing what we needed to do to improve from where we fell short last year. We still have a lot of work to do in the spring to get into the NCAA tournament, but I think we’re in a much better position this time around than last fall.”
One specific goal set for the Irish is working on getting in sync throughout events and feeding off each other when someone is playing well.
“The goal for the spring is that hopefully we can match up our good play in the same event so we can get a good finish,” Delgado said. “That’s kind of what we’ve been missing, and it happened in Vero Beach this past weekend. A couple of us played well, and then we’ll switch off and two other guys will play well and the other two won’t, so we’re trying to match it up so we can get more wins.”