Feb. 13, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame men’s golf team advanced into the semifinals at The Match Play, earning wins over Loyola Chicago and Villanova on Monday at the Reunion Resort Watson Course. The Irish took down the Ramblers 5.5-0.5 in the opening round before defeating the Wildcats 4.0-2.0 in quarterfinal action.
“I was very pleased by our team effort,” said Irish head coach Jim Kubinski. “Chris, Tom, Niall and Tyler each won both matches. Chris and Tyler came back from three and two down, respectively, which showed a lot. As the No. 1 seed, we’re going to get each team’s best shot. We had some good battles out there today but our depth won out in the end.”
Seniors Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) and Tom Usher (Baildon, England) as well as sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and freshman Tyler Wingo (Fairfax, Va.) paced the Irish through their opening two matches, winning each of their respective contests to notch the maximum two points on the day.
After battling through a close one-up victory during his morning contest against Brian Van De Motter of Loyola, Walker made short work of Villanova’s Vince Boyle in the afternoon session with a 5&4 victory. Walker entered the afternoon match off great momentum from the morning after using a birdie on the 18th hole to claim the one-up win in his opener.
Wingo, meanwhile, showed some early-round jitters in his first competitive road tournament of his Irish career, but battled back from two holes down after No. 7 to claim a one-up victory over Nick Dennis of Loyola. In the afternoon round, Wingo jumped out to a quick three-up lead on Villanova’s Robby Meador after eight holes en route to holding on for a 4&3 victory.
“Chris led us off the tee each match and gave us great leadership,” remarked Kubinski. “I also loved Tyler’s work. He made some clutch putts and put us over the top.”
Usher completed the first day of competition without having to take on the 17th or 18th holes. In the morning match, the Irish co-captain defeated Loyola’s Alex Cusumano 4&2 before knocking off Villanova’s Brian Colbert in the afternoon 3&2. Platt, meanwhile, enjoyed the most dominant day for the Irish on Monday, disposing of Loyola’s Erik Hoops 6&4 before taking down Villanova’s Derek Jones 4&3 in the afternoon session.
Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), the third captain of the Irish squad, earned a split on his opening day of matches. In the morning session, he equaled Platt with the score of the match, defeating Loyola’s Charlie Schaffer 6&4 while serving as the team’s last man off the tee. In his afternoon match, Scodro was able to post a better stroke-play score than Villanova’s Michael Kania, but lost a 2&1 decision due to the match-play format.
“Max played a super match in the morning going bogey free,” explained Kubinski. “He actually beat his afternoon opponent in stroke play but lost a tough match in the end.”
Junior Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) traversed two difficult matchups, taking both contests to the final hole of play. In both games, McNamara fell three down with only four holes to play but battled back to force both to the final hole, earning a halve against Loyola’s Nick Dennis and falling one down to Villanova’s Bret McGaughey.
“I was proud of Paul’s fight today,” stated Kubinski. “He was three down with four to play in both matches yet took them both to the 18th. He had a putt to win the morning match and lost to a tough seven foot putt in the afternoon.”
The Irish now face Central Arkansas in their semifinal match on Tuesday. The first pairing is set to tee off on the first hole at 7:30 a.m. (ET) with all other pairings separated by seven-minute intervals. Should the Irish win their semifinal match they will advance to the championship match beginning at 12:30 p.m. Be sure to check back with UND.com for a complete recap as the Irish look to claim The Match Play title.
First Round - Notre Dame 5.5, Loyola Chicago 0.5Matchups: ScoreMax Scodro (ND) def. Charlie Schaffer (LOYOLA) 6 & 4Tom Usher (ND) def. Alex Cusumano (LOYOLA) 4 & 2Niall Platt (ND) def. Erik Hoops (LOYOLA) 6 & 4Paul McNamara III (ND) and Sean Hickey (LOYOLA) HalvedTyler Wingo (ND) def. Nick Dennis (LOYOLA) 1 upChris Walker (ND) def. Brian Van De Motter (LOYOLA) 1 up
Second Round - Notre Dame 4.0, Villanova 2.0Matchups: ScoreMichael Kania (VU) def. Max Scodro (ND) 2 & 1Tom Usher (ND) def. Brian Colbert (VU) 3 & 2Niall Platt (ND) def. Derek Jones (VU) 4 & 3Bret McGaughey (VU) def. Paul McNamara III (ND) 1 upTyler Wingo (ND) def. Robby Meador (VU) 4 & 3Chris Walker (ND) def. Vince Boyle (VU) 5 & 4