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Men’s Golf

Disappointing cancellation ends historic season for Notre Dame men’s golf

| Friday, May 15, 2020

This year’s Notre Dame men’s golf team was full steam ahead from the beginning of the season. Finishing in the top three at all five of their competitions in the fall, the Irish had a lot of momentum heading into the spring season. Fielding a deep, diverse team, this Notre Dame squad was turning heads all season long.

Men’s head coach John Handrigan had high expectations for this team right out of the gate. Going into his third season as the team’s head coach, his philosophies and strategies took full effect.

“Well, you could tell, based on what our players did over the summer, the recruits that we had coming in and how our players have developed over the last couple of years, that a promising year was ahead,” he said. “I didn’t imagine breaking all of the records that we did and winning all of the tournaments that we won. It was definitely a pretty good year, for sure.”

The team reached record highs this season. At one point, the Irish were ranked No. 5 in the country. Handrigan expressed his excitement about the historic season that his team was a part of.

“The fall was pretty historic. We won four out of our first five tournaments in the fall; first time that any golf team at Notre Dame has won more than three tournaments in a single year, nevermind that this was just in the fall,” Handrigan said. “Breaking that record, winning four out of five out of the gate, was unbelievable actually. Pretty impressive what the guys did in that fall semester. Obviously all of that was cut short in the spring, but I would have loved to see what kind of run they could make at a national championship.”

The only fall competition in which the Irish finished in third instead of first was the Inverness Intercollegiate hosted in Toledo, Ohio.

This year’s squad was led by three seniors: John Felitto, Davis Lamb and Hunter Ostrom. The balance between veteran experience and young talent was critical to propelling the team to success. This year’s senior class was particularly important to coach Handrigan, he said.

Observer File Photo

Irish senior John Fellito drives the ball during an exhibition match at the Warren Golf Course on Aug. 24, 2019.

“They are the leaders of our program. They led by example. They held all of the other players accountable. They were the rock of the team, no doubt. They’ve been through it all,” he said. “Freshman year it was a different program for them, and I came in their sophomore year. They’ve seen the program for what it was and what it is now. I think that they were ranked about 100th in the country their freshman year. Then, to become top five in the country in just a short period of time is impressive. They are great leaders for our program and we’ll definitely miss them. Those guys helped change the culture of Notre Dame golf. I am very thankful to have those guys, and I think that they are impressed and proud of what our team has accomplished over the last three years.”

There is only one word, Handrigan said, to describe the team’s feelings towards next season: anticipation. Building off of a record-breaking season, this Notre Dame team will be bringing the heat in the fall with Handrigan returning for his fourth year as head coach alongside six returning golfers and new recruits.

“We have some great players. Our recruiting class is one of the best in the country. The current players that we have are continuing to develop. Our program is in a great state,” he said. “Will we continue to break records every single year? That is a little far fetched, but I do feel like we have a great program coming back. Hopefully, everybody comes back healthy. I know that they are anxious to get after it again, especially after the season being cut short. I do feel like our program is in a great state going forward.”

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