Davis Lamb leads Irish to sixth place finish at ACC Championship
Jack Concannon | Tuesday, April 24, 2018
The Irish have worked this entire season to put their skills on the line at the ACC Championship. The Irish were tied for second at 17-under after two rounds and ended tied for sixth with North Carolina after a 2-under par final round. The team was 19-under-par for the tournament, carding the second lowest full tournament score in the history of the program.
“The guys played really solid. It wasn’t our best today [in the final round] but being in the final group in the ACC tournament was definitely an attribute to what the guys did all year,” Irish head coach John Handrigan said. “We held our own. It was an impressive week for us which is going to help us into the next part of our season.”
The team was seeded 10th out of 12 teams coming into the tournament, coming off of a 10th-place finish in the 2017 ACC tournament. Exceeding expectations, they upset several top-ranked teams, including No. 4-seed Florida State, who is currently ranked No. 20 nationally.
“We had high expectations because we’ve been playing well the last few events,” Handrigan said. “We didn’t win any but we’ve had some top three finishes and our team has been playing great. They’ve been working extremely hard. We haven’t had the best weather so we’ve been working on our game inside, but they’ve been grinding really hard.”
Sophomore Davis Lamb led the way for the Irish with a nine under for the tournament, including a strong 68 in the final round. Freshman Davis Chatfield and sophomore John Felitto finished 12th and 19th, respectively, scoring under par on the weekend.
This balanced performance at the conference championship is reflective of the entire season, with standout performances across the board. Along with Lamb, Felitto and Chatfield, juniors Miguel Delgado and Ben Albin have each led the team in scoring at different tournaments. This varied attack has made the Irish an extremely tough opponent in ACC play.
“We have a lot of depth on our team right now. There were only five guys in this tournament, but we have several guys at home who have been pushing these guys too,” Handrigan said. “It’s hard to pick which guy I think is going to do well each week, because every single week it seems to be a different guy. Once we get all five guys stepping up together we could really do some special things this post season.”
The Irish have three underclassmen and no seniors in their top five this season, and will not be graduating anyone from a squad that was just 10 strokes off the ACC title pace. In Handrigan’s first season at Notre Dame, the team’s improvement over last year’s ACC tournament result was impressive. It is clear that the culture surrounding the program has changed, but he credited his players hard work for the improvement.
“The 10 guys on our team have changed the culture of Notre Dame golf. We’re back on the map now as one of the top teams in the country,” Handrigan said. “It’s drastically improved this year thanks to these 10 guys. The future is bright. It’s going to be a great program for years to come.”
Considering the strong showing by the ACC on the national stage — tied with the Pac-12 for third most ranked teams with four, behind the Big 10 and SEC — the momentum the team gained this past weekend should serve them well in the coming weeks as they await seeding for the NCAA Regional tournament. The tournament is scheduled on May 14 and will determine who advances to the NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma.