Felitto leads Notre Dame to fifth place finish in home tournament
Grant DelVecchio | Thursday, October 11, 2018
In its lone home tournament of the season, Notre Dame battled for a fifth-place finish at the Fighting Irish Classic. After recording the solid team totals in both the first and second rounds of competition on Sunday, positioning them in a tie with Iowa for fifth, the Irish were unable to capitalize in their final round of play.
Hosting some of the best teams in the country, head coach John Handrigan said the team played some solid rounds, but in the end, it wasn’t enough against elite competition.
“I’m proud of the way our boys competed,” Handrigan said. “They played their hearts out and gave it everything they had, we just didn’t quite have it this week. When you’re playing against a field as tough as the one we were in, including some of the best teams in the country, you need to bring you’re A-game, and unfortunately, we brought our B- game.”
Ultimately, Illinois took home first-place in the tournament, shooting an overall 44-under par and effectively shattering the previous Fighting Irish Classic record.
In terms of bright spots for the Irish, junior John Felitto broke the program 54-hole record, shooting 13-under par placing him third overall as an individual performer. He entered the club house as the tournament leader and was only passed by North Carolina’s Ryan Gerard and eventual winner Steven Fisk of Georgia Southern down the final stretch.
Handrigan said it’s always impressive when a player breaks a school record.
“John had a very impressive tournament and played great in all three rounds,” Handrigan said. ”He was having back problems early on in the season which is why he couldn’t compete with us early on, but he’s been working hard all year to get to this point and I am super proud of him”.
In terms of what the Irish did well in the tournament, much of the positives came in terms of their mentality, a particularly crucial aspect on the golf course.
“Our mentality, focus, and mindset was great throughout the tournament,” he said. “There’s a lot of added pressure when you’re playing at home, and our strongest attribute this week was definitely our mental toughness.”
On the other hand, Notre Dame specifically struggled with its short game.
“Unfortunately, our putting and proximity to the hole wasn’t as accurate or fine-tuned as in comparison to other teams in the field, but our overall focus did impress me,” Handrigan said.
Other notable performances for the Irish included sophomore Davis Chatfield, who shot in the 60s all three rounds for the Irish and finished 13th overall for the tournament at 8-under par. Freshman Taichi Kho also posted an impressive 68 (-3) in the final round of the competition.
Going forward, Handrigan said the team will get a day off after a grueling week of nonstop work.
”We’re back to practice on Wednesday,” he said. ”Each guy has different things to work on and take care of before we fly to Florida to compete in our next event that we played well in so we’re optimistic about the outcome”.
Moving forward, the Irish will fly to Vero Back, Florida, on Friday to compete in the Quail Valley Collegiate tournament, which tees off on Sunday.