Irish stumble out of the gate at the Badger Invitational
Ryan Kolakowski | Wednesday, September 12, 2018
After digging itself a deep hole on the first day of competition, Notre Dame flopped to an eighth-place finish at the Badger Invitational.
The Irish entered the competition in Madison, Wisconsin with high hopes after finishing fourteen-under-par and placing fourth in the event a year ago. After a six-day qualifying competition between all 10 team members, Notre Dame traveled with eight golfers, a five-man team and three individuals.
The Irish five-man team posted a final score of 20-over-par after three rounds of competition, placing them 29 strokes behind the champion Illinois State Redbirds.
“It was disappointing, to be honest with you,” Irish head coach Scott Handrigan said. “We have a great team, and we saw a lot of that last week.”
Unfortunately, the team did not meet their expectations, Handrigan said.
The Irish struggled on Sunday, the first day of competition, shooting 14-over-par as a team. Their first-round score of 302 strokes placed them tied for eighth with Northern Illinois, 15 strokes behind the first-place Redbirds
After the first-round struggles, the Irish improved each subsequent day. The team dropped their stroke total from 302 on Sunday to 292 on Monday. They saw further improvement Tuesday, totaling 290 strokes as a team.
“It was nice to see that constant improvement,” Handrigan said. “We improved throughout our rounds and during our rounds.”
Despite the struggles, Handrigan was pleased with the performance of his first-year student-athletes.
“It was good to see our two freshmen perform,” Handrigan said. “They stepped up pretty well.”
Freshmen Taichi Kho and Andrew O’Leary traveled with the Irish to the Madison Invitational. O’Leary, who competed with the five-man team, shot four-over-par for through three rounds. Kho, competing as an individual, scored one-over-par for the event.
Junior Davis Lamb scored one-over-par for the event, leading the five-man team in scoring. Kho’s one-over-par was the best score for the Irish, and his three-under-par score in round two was the best round among all Irish golfers.
Notre Dame will have a short week of practice before traveling to its next event. The team will take Wednesday off before returning to practice on Thursday. Competition at the Northern Intercollegiate begins Saturday.
Despite the quick turnaround, coach Handrigan expects his team to make the necessary adjustments to be ready for their weekend competition.
“We keep some detailed stats that help us see what we need to work on,” Handrigan said. “We’re anxious to improve and get to our next event.”
The 2018 Northern Intercollegiate at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. will feature 14 teams from across the nation. Marquette, the reigning champion of the event, will return to defend its title after shooting 32-under-par a year ago.
Missouri, Ohio State and Michigan will also pose stiff competition as the Irish look to improve this weekend.