Irish to wrap up regular season at Thunderbird Invitational
Andrew McGuinness | Friday, April 14, 2023
While the women’s golf team has already finished regular season play and is currently underway at the ACC Championships, Notre Dame men’s golf still has one more competition before they can shift their focus to the postseason. The Irish will leave the warm weather of South Bend for somewhere even hotter, heading to the Thunderbird Invitational at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona. The two-day event begins Friday and ends Saturday.
Notre Dame is looking to bounce back from its worst finish of the season in its last competition, as they placed 12th out of 15 schools at the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational. It was the first time all season the Irish failed to place in the top 10. In fact, the Irish enter this competition in a bit of a funk. Notre Dame placed inside the top seven in five of its first six tournaments of the season. However, they have finished eighth or worst in each of their last three meets.
That being said, there were some positives for the Irish to take away from that event. As a team, Notre Dame registered 170 pars, third most of any of team. Freshman Nate Stevens finished one under par to crack the top 25 thanks to strong play on par threes and fours. His 41 pars tied for most of any individual golfer as well. Senior Palmer Jackson came it at par (72) in each of his first two rounds, finishing in the top 40 overall. And sophomore Owen Mullen was one of just 20 out of 78 golfers to record an eagle during the invitational.
Things will not get any easier for the Irish in Phoenix. The Thunderbird Invitational is hosted annually by Arizona State and it often features some of the nation’s best teams. This year’s competition is no exception. The hosting Sun Devils rank in the top-five nationally. Other ranked teams making the trip are No. 2 North Carolina, No. 4 Texas Tech, No. 12 Texas, No. 21 Arizona and No. 19 Oklahoma State. The Irish also competed against Oklahoma State and Texas at the Stephens Cup.
Notre Dame has not played in the Thunderbird in recent years, which could make things even more challenging. The Irish are also one of the lower-ranked teams in this year’s field, so they will have something to prove when the tournament tees off on Friday.