Sept. 27, 2014
The ninth annual Fighting Irish Golf Classic, hosted by the University of Notre Dame, Sept. 28-30, Warren Golf Course, Notre Dame, Indiana; and Lost Dunes Golf Club, Bridgman, Michigan
The Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Indiana, was recently ranked in the top-30 of the best college golf courses in the country according to Golfweek and Links Magazine. After traditionally playing as a par 70 from the championship tees, the 7,023-yard layout will play as a par 71 for the third straight year of the FIGC. Lost Dunes Golf Club in Bridgman, Michigan, will serve as the site for Monday’s second round, the first time the tournament has moved off the Warren Golf Course in its history. Lost Dunes opened in 1999, and the Tom Doak-designed, par 71, 6,905-yard track is a private club that has been ranked as one of the top golf courses in the state of Michigan according to Golf Digest. Notre Dame routinely travels to Lost Dunes for practice and qualifying rounds during the regular season.
Houston joined Michigan State as the only two-time team winners of the FIGC in 2013, posting a five-under-par team score of 847 to win the tournament by 15 strokes. Kyle Pilgrim of the Cougars took medalist honors with the second-best cumulative score in the eight-year history of the event, firing a five-under 208 over three rounds. Pilgrim’s third round five-under-par 66 was also the second-lowest individual round in the FIGC record book.
-ON THE TEE
The 54-hole stroke play tournament begins with tee times off No. 1 and No. 10 at 10 a.m. (ET) on Sunday at the Warren Golf Course. Players will then travel to Lost Dunes Golf Club on Monday to complete the second round of the tournament, with times slated to begin off the first hole at approximately 11:10 a.m. (ET). Tee times for the final round will begin at approximately 8:30 (first tee) and 8:45 a.m. (10th tee) back at the Warren Golf Course on Tuesday.
-FIELD READY TO BATTLE FOR THE TITLE
A total of eight teams will compete at the 2014 Fighting Irish Golf Classic, with six teams also fielding individual entrants. Joining Notre Dame in the tournament is Ball State, Davidson, Florida Gulf Coast, Lamar, Long Beach State, Loyola (Md.) and Michigan State.
-STARTING FOR THE IRISH…
The Notre Dame starting five are sophomore Matthew Rushton, senior Tyler Wingo, senior Patrick Grahek, sophomore Liam Cox and freshman Thomas Steve. Junior Cory Sciupider, sophomore Blake Barens, junior Zach Toste, senior David Lowe and freshman Jens Verhey are competing as unattached individuals.
Results will be posted on the UND Athletic Department Web site (www.UND.com) at the conclusion of each round. Live results will be available through GolfStat.com.
Notre Dame travels to the Rod Myers Invitational on Oct. 11-12 at the Duke University Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina.
One Tournament, Two Courses
By Staci Gasser
The University of Notre Dame men’s golf team will host its annual fall tournament this weekend, but this year, there is a twist.
The ninth annual Fighting Irish Golf Classic will be played on two courses, not one. Running from Sunday through Tuesday, the first and third rounds will be played at the Warren Golf Course while the second round will be played at Lost Dunes Golf Club, a private golf course built in 1999 in Bridgman, Michigan, on Lake Michigan’s eastern lakeshore.
“We looked at it as a way to add to our tournament that was unique, give it distinction, something that separates it from all the tournaments that are going on across the country,” Notre Dame head coach Jim Kubinski said. “The United States Amateur will incorporate a couple different golf courses, so I thought it was a neat thing for the guys to be able to handle the challenge of two courses.”
Created by Kubinski in 2006, this year’s Fighting Irish Golf Classic welcomes Lamar, a team that finished ahead of the Irish in the Windon Memorial Classic last week, Michigan State, who won the Gopher Invitational that Notre Dame also participated in early in the season, Ball State, Davidson, Florida Gulf Coast, Long Beach State, and Loyola (Md.).
Despite the challenging competition, the Irish squad feels that playing two unique courses will give them an edge.
“Honestly, it will help us a little bit,” sophomore Matthew Rushton said. “The course we are playing out in Michigan is beautiful, it’s stunning and we’ve actually got to play there quite a few times. We have a great idea what’s going on out there. There are a few tricky holes but we all have an idea of how we are going to attack that course, so there will definitely be a little bit of an advantage for us.
“We are used to the golf courses, we have our game plans set way ahead of time, so it’s nice knowing what we are going to do and how we are going to do it more than a day before the tournament.”
Senior David Lowe agrees.
“To get the opportunity to play two good tracks is pretty special in one tournament,” Lowe said. “I think it brings up even more challenges for our opponents because they will be less familiar with Lost Dunes. That will certainly give us a competitive advantage.”
The uniqueness of playing on essentially two home courses will give the Irish the upper hand, and Kubinski believes the challenge of this tournament will develop his golfers into stronger competitors.
“Learning on one golf course is a good challenge each week but having to learn two, come up with two different game plans because every course is so unique, it challenges them a little bit,” he said. “I think it’s going to help them gain that much more experience going forward.
“And another thing we are trying to do as a team this year is offer the guys certain challenges that they can rise to, rather than simplifying things like so many of us try to do in life by asking them to a little bit more,” Kubinski added. “I think it’s a real confidence builder.”
The Irish haven’t stood on the first-place team and individual podiums at the Fighting Irish Golf Classic since 2009, and the golfers are ready for their hard work to pay off at their home event.
“I feel like we are putting in some good work, we’ve all shown lots of positive signs,” Rushton said. “It will be a good time for us to show the work that we’ve been putting in.”
Kubinski said Rushton has grown every week in the last year.
“His maturity is rising, his game is improving, and he’s really all in,” Kubinski said. “Matthew is committed to being the best player he can be and it’s showing.”
Freshman Thomas Steve has also quickly impressed, shooting a 71 in the Gopher Invitational and a 72 at the Windon Memorial Classic last week at the Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, Ill.
Seniors Patrick Grahek, winner of the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge on Aug. 30 at the Warren Golf Course, and Tyler Wingo both lend leadership to the Irish lineup, and will be players to watch this weekend as well.
“Those guys have been really good for us so far,” Kubinski said. “We are looking forward to getting those fourth and fifth scores that are so important.”
To win the Fighting Irish Golf Classic as a team and individually, the golfers will have to be set on a good game plan, both physically and mentally.
“For me, it’s going to be the preparation going into the tournament, making sure I am putting in my time now through Saturday evening to make sure I’m ready to go Sunday,” Lowe said. “As a team, it’s the same thing. There are a lot of things that we are trying to balance out, and staying focused on what we are trying to accomplish is going to be our upmost priority for all of us.”
“We need to tie up those nine-hole stretches that we haven’t played as well and put together the longer stretches where we have, and we will have a good chance,” Kubinski said. “We have to find our ability to string 54 holes together. That’s our goal.”
The tournament begins Sunday with tee times off the first and 10th tees at 10 a.m. (ET) at the Warren Golf Course. Live in-progress scoring will be available on the Golfstat web site (www.golfÂstatresults.com). Complete results will be posted on the front door of the Warren Golf Course clubhouse following the completion of each round as well as on UND.com.