Paul McNamara paced the Irish on day one of the BIG EAST Championship, carding an opening round 68 (-4).

Irish Claim Lead After Day One Of BIG EAST Championship

April 29, 2012

Round 1 ResultsGet Acrobat Reader

ORLANDO, Fla. – Using under-par rounds from both Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) and Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), the University of Notre Dame men’s golf team claimed a one shot lead at the 2012 BIG EAST Championship with a 284 (-4) Sunday at the Reunion Resort Watson Course.

“We’ve been on a good roll for a couple weeks now,” said Irish head coach Jim Kubinski. “I started to feel good during our dual match with Illinois when we brought six guys and had six good scores. We continued that last week at home with two excellent scores in tough conditions. We have a good attitude and approach out there right now. We’re not getting frustrated. We’re staying positive. It’s all the golf clichés you might hear taking form.”

Louisville trails the Irish by only one stroke after Sunday’s action, carding the only other under-par team round with a 285 (-3). Villanova (293, +5) checks in at third with both St. John’s and Georgetown tied for fourth with scores of 294 (+6). Individually, Louisville’s Justin Dorward holds the lead after an opening 67 (-5).

McNamara sits one shot off the pace of Dorward after the first day after shooting a 68 (-4) that saw him card six birdies, 10 pars and only two bogeys. The junior made his move on the front nine, recording a three under, 33 including marking down back-to-back birdies on holes five and six. McNamara then moved his score to five under on the day with birdies on the 10th and 13th holes, but a bogey on the par-5, 17th hole brought him back to four under to end the round.

“Paul started playing really well at Houston,” remarked Kubinski. “He had it to -5 at one round out there and he has built on that stretch each week.”

Scodro, meanwhile, sits alone in third at the Championship, one shot behind McNamara with a 69 (-3). After a bit of a shaky start that saw the senior get to two under before giving both shots back with bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes, Scodro played the final 11 holes bogey-free with birdies on the eighth, 14th and 17th holes to secure the three-under finish.

“Max worked on some things the last few weeks,” stated Kubinski. “He wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be of late but has found it. He played very well today.”

Fellow senior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) nearly made it three Irish players in red numbers, finishing his opening round at even par (72). After falling to two over on the heels of three straight bogeys on holes four through six, Walker eventually climbed back to one under after 17 holes but a bogey to end his round sealed up his even-par score. Walker is tied for 11th after the first day of play.

Sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) rounded out the four counted scores for Notre Dame with his opening round 75 (+3). Platt played fairly consistent golf on 16 of his 18 holes on day one, carding 13 pars and two birdies to go along with only one bogey. Unfortunately, a pair of double bogeys on the seventh and 10th holes hindered Platt’s day as he sits in a share of 28th after Sunday’s action.

Senior Tom Usher (Baildon, England) did not count toward the team score with his opening round 79 (+7). After opening with a tough front nine that saw him saddled with two bogeys, one double bogey and a triple bogey, Usher settled down on his final nine to post only one bogey and eight pars. Overall, Usher is tied for 47th after the first day of play.

“There’s a long way to go over the next 36 holes,” explained Kubinski. “However, I really do like the way we have started to play this month. We’ll work on keeping that good attitude and having five guys in play each round.”

Notre Dame gets its second round underway beginning at 10:30 a.m. (ET) Monday off of the first hole. The Irish will be paired up alongside Louisville and Villanova in the final five pairings of the day.

Top Five Teams (after 18 holes):1. NOTRE DAME        284 -42. Louisville       285 -33. Villanova        293 +5T4. St. John's      294 +6T4. Georgetown      294 +6
Top Six Individuals (after 18 holes):1, Justin Dorward, UL 67 -52. Paul McNamara III, ND 68 -43. Max Scodro, ND 69 -3T4. Taylor Hall, GTown 70 -2T4. Michael Kania, VU 70 -2T4. Brandon Park, SHU 70 -2
Notre Dame Results (after 18 holes):1. NOTRE DAME 284 -42. Paul McNamara III 68 -43. Max Scodro 69 -3T11. Chris Walker 72 ET28. Niall Platt 75 +3T47. Tom Usher 79 +7