Notre Dame travel to Arizona for National Invitational Tournament
Connor Mulvena | Monday, February 27, 2017
Notre Dame will continue the second half of its season with the National Invitational Tournament at Omni Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona.
The Irish enter the invitational coming off a big win at the Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play Tournament on Feb. 14, as the Irish won the event off of freshman Davis Lamb’s victory in the final hole of the tournament.
Irish head coach Jim Kubinski said the team heads to Arizona with confidence, ready to execute.
“Our guys are upbeat and confident in general, but last week’s win probably added to those feelings,” Kubinski said. “We’ve had a great week of practice in preparation for Tucson, so now it’s about execution.”
After the match-play format two weeks ago, the Irish return to a more traditional tournament style in line with the rest of their season. The invitational begins Monday with a shotgun start at noon.
“I think our keys are to both focus on the importance of maintaining emotional maturity out there on the course, something that allows a player to remain focused on each shot to be played, and also working to be consistent, week to week, in our approach to all the things we do,” Kubinski said.
The invitational presents a unique challenge for the team, as over half of the 16 teams competing are join the Irish in the top 100, according to Golfstat.com’s rankings. Along with the competitive field, Kubinski said the Irish face the significant challenge of getting to know the course at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club.
“I think the biggest challenge, week to week, for all collegiate players is learning the golf course and becoming comfortable in whatever conditions, particularly weather, that come your way,” Kubinski said.
Nevertheless, Kubinski said the Irish remain confident, feeling adequately prepared for the challenges ahead.
“We have a young group, 80 percent underclassmen starting this week, but they’ve grown a great deal and that growth can be attributed to our consistent approach to competing,” Kubinski said.
The team even has a bit of experience with the course, as sophomores Ben Albin and Miguel Delgado and senior Blake Barens, competed there last season.
Kubinski said he continues to emphasize the importance of consistency throughout the season in order to constantly move up in the rankings.
“Each of our tournaments finishing out the regular season are opportunities to move up in the NCAA rankings and grow as a team,” Kubinski said. “We’re just beyond the NCAA tournament bubble right now, but I believe we control our own destiny. We’re looking to bring a consistent approach to each event, one that will afford us opportunities for strong finishes each time out. College golf, playing [in the] fall and spring equally, is a marathon. Our goal is to come out each week with a great approach to competing. We’ve done so far more consistently this season, which is a credit to our guys.”
The Irish begin play in the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson on Monday at noon.