Junior Niall Platt

Irish Tee Up At Historic E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational In Spring Opener

March 14, 2013

Round 1 Tee Times Get Acrobat Reader

2013 E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational, hosted by Georgia Southern University, March 15-17, Forest Heights Country Club, Statesboro, Ga.

Forest Heights Country Club was opened in 1947, and was redesigned in 1993 by Bob Cupp. The par-72, 6,962-yard layout has hosted the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational since 1971.

“Our team has always enjoyed the hospitality at Forest Heights Country Club and the great community involvement. It’s a place where you’re made to feel welcome and a tournament that always has a strong field. It’s still early in the season here, so the course isn’t as green as it sometimes is, but it’s in good shape. The layout is fun to play, requiring some thought and execution. The hole locations are fair but very testing.”

The 54-hole stroke play tournament begins with the opening slot of tee times Friday at 9 a.m. The second round is scheduled to begin at approximately 9 a.m., while the final 18 holes will get underway Sunday at 8 a.m.

In its prestigious 40-plus year history, the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational has played host to a number of professional golf’s biggest names. Four major champions have claimed the individual tournament title, with the first being two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange (Wake Forest, 1974). PGA Champions Bob Tway (1981, Oklahoma State) and Hal Sutton (1980, Centenary), and 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson (Georgia, 2000) are also past medalists at the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational. The event’s champion list includes longtime PGA Tour players Andy Bean (Florida, 1975) and Scott Verplank (Oklahoma State, 1984).

The Notre Dame starting five are senior Paul McNamara III, junior Niall Platt, junior Andrew Lane, sophomore Peyton Vitter and sophomore Tyler Wingo. Freshman Cory Sciupider is entered as an individual competitor.

Live results from the Schenkel Invitational will be available at Golfstat.com. Fans can also visit the tournament microsite http://www.schenkelinvitational.com, or follow the handle @SchenkelInvite on Twitter for more information.

Notre Dame travels to the C&F Bank Intercollegiate March 24-26 at the Kingsmill Resort-River Course in Williamsburg, Va.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Nearly five months since it played its last competitive round, the University of Notre Dame men’s golf team returns to the course this weekend at the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational at the Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga.

The Irish wrapped up the fall tournament slate with a 29-19 head-to-head record, and a number 106 ranking according to Golfstat. The autumn schedule was highlighted by a second-place finish at the Georgetown Intercollegiate (290-286-289-865, +13) in the season finale Oct. 22-23 at the Members Club at Four Streams in Beallsville, Md.

“It’s our first time out in a while but I expect solid play,” Irish head coach Jim Kubinski says. “The big thing for us is to continue to build upon the strides we made last fall, gaining experience and exhibiting maturity out there. I want to see us show emotional maturity during the inevitable ups and downs of golf, as well as good decision making.”

Notre Dame will open the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational with three event veterans at the top of its five-man starting lineup. Junior Niall Platt, playing out of the number one position in the Irish rotation, recorded a fall individual victory at the Macdonald Cup at the Course at Yale Sept. 29-30. Platt fired a 36-hole score of 138 (68-70, -2) to claim the tournament title by one stroke.

Other Irish starters with previous experience at the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational are senior Paul McNamara III and junior Andrew Lane. McNamara posted the top scoring average on the team during the fall, finishing with a 72.18 in 11 official rounds played, and a team-best two top 10’s in five tournament starts. Lane’s 73.27 scoring average was second to McNamara for the Notre Dame lead, and his 11th-place showing at the Georgetown Intercollegiate was a career-best finish.

“It is great for us to have Paul, our leading scorer from the fall, and Andrew joining Niall as previous competitors at the Schenkel Invitational,” Kubinski says. “Both have a lot of game and can make birdies. They also continue to improve each semester, which has been fun to watch.”

A pair of first-time Notre Dame entries into the tournament field round out the Irish starting five. Sophomore Tyler Wingo enjoyed a surge at the end of the fall slate, placing second at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational (Oct. 15-16) after closing with back-to-back 69s in the final two rounds. Classmate Peyton Vitter finished in 13th place at the Yestingsmeier Invitational, his best career result with the Irish.

Freshman Cory Sciupider will make his first spring appearance for Notre Dame this weekend, competing as an individual. Sciupider’s second round 71 at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic Oct. 8 (Warren Golf Course) was the lowest Notre Dame score of the tournament’s second day.

“We must accept when we’re in a defensive position this weekend and cut our losses, rather than try to play offensively from those tough spots,” Kubinski says. “When we do put ourselves in good positions, we plan to take advantage of those opportunities.”