Irish prepare for Shoal Creek Invitational
Brenna Moxley | Friday, September 22, 2017
Notre Dame will compete in the Shoal Creek Invitational hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Shoal Creek, Alabama on Monday and Tuesday. Notre Dame is coming off a solid performance at the Badger Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, last week, finishing fourth of 16 teams in the first contest of the season for the Irish.
The Shoal Creek Invitational will feature fierce competition, including No. 11 Wake Forest, as well as two teams receiving votes in the NCAA coaches poll: Ole Miss and North Florida.
The Irish will be bringing freshman Davis Chatfield, sophomore Hunter Ostrom and juniors Ben Albin, Miguel Delgado and Kevin Conners to the tournament. Notre Dame will look toward Albin for another strong performance, as his 66 in the third round last week helped him climb to third overall in the individual standings. He simultaneously catapulted the team into the fourth place position for the tournament.
Last season, the Irish also got off to a strong start, finishing fifth out of 14 teams in the University of San Francisco Olympic Club Intercollegiate. However, the team struggled in the second tournament of the season, finishing 14th out of 16 teams at the Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate. The Irish aim to avoid stalling in the second event of the season this year, and Irish head coach John Handrigan explained that the team is focusing on their growth and improvement, rather than comparing itself to the competition.
“Instead of focusing on the competition, we are mainly focusing on what we are able to do as a team and how we can continue to get better,” Handrigan said. “We honestly had a pretty good first tournament, but there are a few things we need to key in on in order to improve this week. If we can do that, then we will be fine against the competition.”
Handrigan noted that he has been to the Shoal Creek course previously, and believes that will give his team a leg up by being able to prepare appropriately.
“I’ve been to this course before so I know what to expect, which is nice because I was able to help my guys prepare for this type of golf course,” Handrigan said. “We have been doing a couple of things this week to help us prepare for this event. It definitely helps having a previous relationship with the golf course to be more prepared and know what to expect.”
Handrigan said he hopes his team repeats and improves on its strong performance last week during his second tournament ever as head coach at Notre Dame.
“We are looking to improve on our [fourth place] finish in the first tournament of the season, to be honest with you,” he said. “There are a couple of stats that we were not happy with — mainly our scrambling stats and short game statistics around the green. However, we had a really good practice today working on those shots that we didn’t do too well on; some of the practice consisted of mainly technique and the other part of it was hardcore repetition. We improved on those areas at our facility today, and I think we will do better at the tournament because of that.”