Sophomore Liam Cox

Irish Trek Out West For The Jones Invitational

Feb. 22, 2015

2015 Jones Invitational, hosted by Pepperdine University, Feb. 23-24, Valencia Country Club, Valencia, California.

Valencia Country Club is a legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed course that was officially redesigned in 1998 by the PGA Tour to host the Nissan Open. The par 72 layout plays at more than 7.000 yards.

The 54-hole stroke play tournament begins with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. (PT) on Monday. Round two will begin with a continuous transition at the conclusion of the opening 18. The third and final round will commence with tee times off the first and 10th tees on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.

Notre Dame joins a 15-team field at the Jones Invitational, including many foes who reside within regional vicinity to the Valencia area. Along with host Pepperdine, the Irish will match up against BYU, Georgia State, Fresno State, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Northwestern, Pacific, San Diego, Sam Houston State, Southern California, South Carolina Upstate, UC-Irvine and Winthrop.

The Notre Dame starting five are sophomore Matthew Rushton, senior Patrick Grahek, senior Tyler Wingo, sophomore Liam Cox and sophomore Blake Barens.

Results will be posted on the UND Athletic Department Web site ( at the end of each round. Live results will be available through

Notre Dame travels to San Diego, California, for the Lamkin San Diego Classic on March 9-10 at the San Diego Country Club.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The weather in the Midwest might still be hovering around freezing, but the University of Notre Dame men’s golf team is ringing in the spring on the West Coast this week. The Irish open the 2015 spring season at the Jones Invitational at the Valencia Country Club in Valencia, California.

A total of 15 teams will take the course for 36 holes of golf on Monday, with a shotgun start scheduled for 7:30 a.m. (PT). The third and final round will begin at 7:30 on Tuesday off both the first and 10th tees.

“Valencia hosted the LA Open once or twice when a major might have been taking place at Riviera, and they had a Champions Tour event over many years,” Notre Dame head coach Jim Kubinski said. “It’s a good golf course and a fair golf course, and I believe Coach (Scott) Gump previously played it while on the Tour. It’s a tree-line golf course that is pretty straightforward with not a lot of tricks, I think the greens will be quick, but other than that it will be a good way to start the spring.”

The Jones Invitational will not be the first time Notre Dame has physically been on a golf course since concluding its fall schedule nearly four months ago, with the program’s alumni match and tournament qualifying both taking place in Southern locales. Being the first true competitive test of the calendar year, Kubinski feels that the Valencia Country Club layout will provide the right balance for the Irish lineup.

“We won’t be facing very many unfamiliar things that we haven’t seen for a few months, it’s a straightforward golf course with fast greens that will be a great test for the boys,” Kubinski said. “We are going to have a good competitive squad ready to go, and with the golf course setup I think that gives us a great chance starting out the season.”

A veteran five-man lineup will open the season in California, with sophomore Matthew Rushton, seniors Patrick Grahek and Tyler Wingo, and sophomores Liam Cox and Blake Barens comprising the Irish travel roster. Bringing the Notre Dame brand to the West Coast is an added bonus for Kubinski and his team.

“It’s an eclectic field with some local teams and favorites like USC and Pepperdine, but you also have Georgia State, USC Upstate and other teams traveling across the country,” Kubinski said. “That’s a good experience for our boys in the sense that we try to play a national schedule and we want play teams from the Pac-12, ACC and SEC, go around the country. We almost have to have blinders on in this first event and be concerned with taking care of certain things we have worked on these past few months.”

Remaining in top shape both mentally and physically will hold the key to Notre Dame’s fortunes during the Jones Invitational, areas that the team diligently prepared for during its mid-season break.

“If we start worrying about who we are playing and where we stand in the field it could get away from us, but I feel that focusing in on the attitude we have created will keep us in good shape,” Kubinski said. “It is our first time out and we haven’t competed for 54 holes in a while, so I’d love to see the guys start strong in the first tournament. The big goal will be to see if we can carry those great stretches through the full 54 holes.”

Live results will be available throughout the tournament at