Senior Paul McNamara finished in fifth place at last season's BIG EAST Championship at the Watson Course at Reunion Resort

Irish Aim For Third Straight BIG EAST Championship

April 27, 2013

2013 BIG EAST Championship, April 28-30, Reunion Resort Watson Course, Orlando, Fla.

Eight-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson designed the Watson Course at Reunion Resort. Golf Digest named the par 72, 7,257-yard track one of America’s Best New Resort Courses in 2005. The Watson Course recently hosted the women’s BIG EAST Championship April 21-23.
“We’re very much looking forward to returning to Reunion Resort for our final BIG EAST Championship. We have very positive connections to Reunion, having won both last year’s BIG EAST title there as well as The Match Play in February of 2012. It’s a very playable course, with several birdie opportunities, but also requires quality shots in places. The player who drives it well will have lots of chances to score.”

Tee times for the 54-hole stroke play conference championship tournament begin off the No. 1 tee Sunday at 8 a.m. The second round tentatively set for an 8 a.m. start Monday, while Tuesday’s final round will see groups sent off both the No. 1 and No. 10 tees at 8 a.m.

Notre Dame, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, will be joined by Louisville (No. 1), USF (No. 2), St. John’s (No. 4), Georgetown (No. 5), Cincinnati (No. 6), Villanova (No. 7), Connecticut (No. 8), Marquette (No. 9), DePaul (No. 10), Rutgers (No. 11) and Seton Hall (No. 12).

The Notre Dame starting five are senior Paul McNamara III, junior Niall Platt, junior Andrew Lane, and freshmen Cory Sciupider and Zach Toste.

Notre Dame has participated in each of the past 17 BIG EAST Championships and has finished among the top three 14 times since joining the conference. The Irish have won eight titles (1995, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012), ranked second behind the 10 straight tournament titles that St. John’s earned from 1979-89. Head coach Jim Kubinski has led Notre Dame to its last four BIG EAST crowns (2005, 2006, 2011, and 2012).

Notre Dame players have claimed medalist honors at the BIG EAST Championship six times, tied for second all-time with Providence and trailing only St. John’s (seven) for the most in tournament history. Max Scodro won the last two BIG EAST Championships he competed in, firing a six-under par, 210 to claim the 2012 title. Bill Moore (1995), Todd Vernon (1997), Steve Ratay (2001-three-way tie with Brian Krusoe of Virginia Tech and Andrew Svoboda of St. John’s) and Mark Baldwin (2005).

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s golf team looks for its third consecutive BIG EAST Championship this weekend at the Watson Course at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.

“For a while this season, we put a lot of high expectations on ourselves and played frustrated golf too often, even pressing at times,” Irish head coach Jim Kubinski says. “Yet, while we were disappointed with some results, we never lost confidence in our talent. For all but a very small few, successful play in DI collegiate golf requires a developmental process.

“I’m proud of our guys for staying positive all along and growing as players. They have worked hard throughout.”

Notre Dame enters the weekend with eight BIG EAST titles in 17 starts since the 1995 season, claiming the 2012 crown by 16 strokes over Louisville after firing a three-day total of 852 (-12). Paul McNamara III and Niall Platt return to the Irish lineup for this season’s championship, joined by first-time entries Andrew Lane, Cory Sciupider and Zach Toste.

McNamara is Notre Dame’s top returning scorer from last season’s BIG EAST Championship, firing a cumulative 68-72-73-213 (-3) for solo fifth place. Platt tied for 10th place at 217 (+1).

The first round of the 2013 BIG EAST Championship is scheduled to begin with the initial wave of tee times going off the No. 1 tee Sunday at 8 a.m. Notre Dame players will start their opening rounds at 10:30 a.m.

“This week is the start of a new season, the post season, and we’re excited for that,” Kubinski says. “We get a fresh start. We’re very positive. We’re looking forward to competing in warm weather and continuing to develop the individual traits that will allow us to enjoy long-term success.

“That said, we’re still the two-time defending champs this week. We know what that means and we’ll be ready to play.”