Since coming to Notre Dame in 2005 after two seasons as an assistant at Duke, men's golf head coach Jim Kubinski has led the Fighting Irish to four BIG EAST titles and four NCAA regional appearances, including a tie for sixth at the 2012 NCAA Central Regional.

Irish Golf Inks Three Players During Early Signing Period

Nov. 16, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame men’s golf head coach Jim Kubinski announced recently that three prep golfers have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Fighting Irish program.

Blake Barens (Villa Park, Calif.), Liam Cox (Staines, Middlesex, United Kingdom) and Matt Rushton (Bluffton, S.C., by way of Cape Town, South Africa) will be eligible to compete during the 2013 fall season.

“We’re thrilled to announce the signings of three exceptionally talented student-athletes for our Notre Dame Class of 2017,” Kubinski said. “All three have made both academic and athletic achievement top priorities in their lives. We feel they are great fits for our program and are extremely excited to welcome them into our ND men’s golf family.”

Blake Barens signing his NLI

Blake Barens • 5-11 • Right-Handed • Orange Lutheran • Villa Park, Calif.

PREP AND PERSONAL: Ranked No. 31 in the Polo/American Junior Golf Association rankings … has also competed in baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse and volleyball … earned seven top-10 finishes on the summer circuit in 2012, claiming the tournament title at the AJGA Ping Phoenix event … runner-up at the 2012 CIF Southern Section Championship after firing a five-under par 67 at the Riverside Country Club … turned in three straight rounds in the 60s (69-69-68) to finish fourth at the 2012 AJGA Heather Farr tournament … won the 2011 Junior World Qualifier at Buenaventura Golf Course, carding a four-under 66 … triumphed over 64 other players to win a youth major at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort Turtle Point and Ocean Course … won the 2010 Toyota Tour Cup Qualifying School tournament at Menifee Lakes … was the youngest contestant to ever qualify for the Golf Channel’s Drive, Chip, and Putt competition.

Kubinski on Barens: “Blake is a well-rounded player. He drives it well and has a very sound short game. He makes good choices out there, exhibiting maturity in his course management. He always looks to be comfortable competing and has shown patience within his rounds. I anticipate Blake being ready to play for us upon arrival next season. It’s just a matter of continued hard work and tournament experience in the interim.”

Liam Cox signing his NLI

Liam Cox • 5-10 • Right-Handed • Hampton School • Staines, Middlesex, U.K.

PREP AND PERSONAL: Team captain of the Surrey U18 team … fired a two-round score of five-under par to win the 2012 Ashford Manor Club Championship … reached the semifinals of the Surrey Men’s Amateur, a 100-player starting tournament field … third-place finisher in the English Golf Union South East Boys qualifying tournament … played into the Last 16 of the British Boys Championships from a field of 252 golfers … team captain of the Middlesex Schools and Hampton School squads as a junior … won the Men’s Scratch Autumn event at Ashford Manor … finished 26th in the American Junior Golf Association Jones Cup Junior Invitational at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia … Surrey U16 captain during his sophomore year, and earned an international cap for England against the Scottish U16 team … South of England Schools champion … has also participated in soccer, cricket and tennis at the Hampton School … Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award winner … member of the Royal Institute of Philosophy … son of Peter and Ann Cox … has one sister, Alice … plans to major in philosophy.

Kubinski on Cox: “As an international player, Liam appeared on our radar a bit further along our normal timeline, yet he advanced on our board very quickly. Liam’s results are easy to see. Perhaps more impressive, though, are the traits he possesses, things which will allow him to be successful at the next level. His maturity, polish and discipline come through in spending any time with him. Liam has a great golf swing and has played on a number of top junior teams in the U.K. He has not only played on those teams but has often been in a captain’s or leadership role. This fact is important to me. Experience with the team dynamic that we encounter, and at a significant level coming in, should serve Liam well in his acclimation to college golf.”

Matt Rushton • 5-9 • Right-Handed • Heritage Academy • Bluffton, S.C. (Cape Town, ZA)

PREP AND PERSONAL: Originally from Cape Town, South Africa … ranked No. 39 in the Polo/American Junior Golf Association rankings … prepping at Heritage Academy … won the Boys 15-19 championship at the 2012 International Junior Golf Tour Port Royal Golf Club (Hilton Head, S.C.) tournament, firing a two-day score of 142 (73-69) … logged five top-25s on the summer 2012 circuit, highlighted by an eighth-place finish in the Southern Junior (Country Club of North Carolina) and a runner-up effort at the American Junior Golf Association/Under Armour Vicky Hurst Championship (Squire Creek Country Club, Choudrant, La.) … four top-five finishes on the 2011 IJGT docket, including a tie for second place at the Falcons Fire Golf Club tournament (Kissimmee, Fla.) … won a pair of IJGT events in 2010, claiming the top prize at the TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) and the Port Royal Club tournaments – named Golfweek Junior Player of the Week in recognition of his three-under par (72-69-141) effort at Port Royal … recorded six straight victories in IJGT events in 2009.

Kubinski on Rushton: “Matt was our first commitment in this class, having taken an unofficial visit in May, and offered his verbal commitment just thereafter. We were impressed by his results before meeting but getting to know him made our choice very easy. Matt is not only an accomplished player in American junior golf but has competed successfully on several continents. Hailing from South Africa, he has also played in India and South America, among several other places. Matt has a sound all-around game and, really, an advanced maturity to his approach. His results, work ethic and maturity all point to the likely opportunity he’ll have to compete for us immediately.”