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Men’s Golf

Irish head to Panama City for ACC Golf Championships

| Thursday, April 21, 2022

The No. 13 Notre Dame men’s golf team heads to Florida this weekend for the ACC Championships. They’ll compete in the three-round event at the Shark’s Tooth Golf Club in Panama City. The Irish have high hopes for the postseason, entering this year in the top 15. Last year, they entered the postseason ranked No. 30 in the country but struggled on this stage. In the ACC Tournament, Notre Dame finished 11th out of 12 teams. Despite being seeded fourth in the Stillwater Regional, the Irish couldn’t escape the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, failing to make the top five teams.

Now, Notre Dame brings more experience back to the big stages of college golf. Senior Taichi Kho led the Irish and finished tied for 22nd at the ACC tournament. Graduate student Davis Chatfield also returns, as does junior Palmer Jackson. That combination represented the Irish’s top three finishers at the tournament a year ago. They also have senior Andrew O’Leary, meaning the Irish will bring back four of their five golfers from last season. Sophomore Angelo Marcon likely rounds out the five-man lineup for the Irish.

Chatfield, Jackson and Kho are all coming off top-10 finishes at their most recent event, the Stitch Intercollegiate. Marcon’s most recent top-10 finish was a fourth-place effort at the Schenkel Invitational a month ago. O’Leary also boasts a top 10 finish this spring at the Lamkin Invitational in early March. The Irish have plenty of top-tier talent and experience to improve on their postseason finish from a year ago, but now it’s about making it happen.

The format is similar to the woman’s tournament. The Irish will compete in three rounds of stroke play with hopes of making it to the final two days of match play. The top four teams after three rounds of play on Friday and Saturday advance. The semifinals are on Sunday with the top two teams playing for the title on Monday. The field is highly competitive, as the ACC again boasts strong depth. Six teams are consensus top-25 teams in the major golf polls. UNC and Georgia Tech enter ranked higher than Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Florida State, Wake Forest and defending conference champion Clemson all slide into the top 25 as well. NC State isn’t far off the top 25 in either poll.

To make the semifinals, the Irish have to oust some tough competition. But behind a veteran squad that remembers the pain of last year’s postseason shortcomings, the Irish are prepared to begin their march to the NCAA Tournament.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Aidan Thomas

A junior marketing and ACMS major at Notre Dame, I've countered the success I've enjoyed as a New England sports fan with the painful existence of a Notre Dame football fan.

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