Feb. 3, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fall half of Notre Dame’s 2016-17 men’s golf season was a successful one. The Irish won the 12-team Georgetown Intercollegiate along with the annual Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge.
The Irish saw three of its golfers claim an individual medalist honor with John Felitto winning the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge, Blake Barens placing first at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Challenge and Ben Albin claiming the top prize at the Georgetown Intercollegiate.
Before the Irish get back to NCAA competition, Feb. 13-14, at the Yestingsmeier Match Play event outside of Tampa, Florida, the team has a chance to warm up against its own past stars in the Florida sun. The Irish will take part in its annual Alumni Match on Saturday at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course in Lake Buena Vista. The course hosted the annual Walt Disney World Golf Classic from 1982-2012, won by the likes of Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, David Duval, Ray Floyd and the late Payne Stewart.
“We’re ready to kick off our spring competition schedule this weekend in Orlando,” head coach Jim Kubinski said. “The weather forecast looks great. We’ve had a great couple weeks of practice at home to begin the semester, so now it’s time to get out there and execute shots.
“We like to start with the alumni match format, the first trip out. It will help prepare for us for the following week’s initial NCAA competition. It offers us the chance to play shots that count again while also having the opportunity to interact with Notre Dame grads and, in this case, all fairly recent graduates of our golf program.”
The Irish will also have a chance to play at the Isleworth Golf & Country Club this weekend while just west of Orlando. Isleworth is well-known as the off-season home of numerous PGA TOUR stars, including Bubba Watson, Stuart Appleby and the late Arnold Palmer.
“Over the weekend, we’ll look forward to playing Isleworth and Disney’s Magnolia Course, both courses having tested the best players on the PGA TOUR over the years,” Kubinski added. “I know our players are excited to get out there and begin our spring run to NCAAs.”
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.