July 12, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame and head men’s golf coach Jim Kubinski recently announced the team’s fall schedule. The slate sees the Irish take part in five tournaments in five different states, including playing host to the sixth-annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic Sept. 26-27 at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.
“We’re excited to announce the fall portion of our schedule,” stated Kubinski. “The common theme of the fall schedule is, of course, our insistency on playing championship caliber courses from all different areas of the country. The ability to travel from the Midwest to the Carolinas and on to Texas is something we are excited to offer our players. It’s important for their development and a huge part of their experience here at Notre Dame.”
The Irish will kick off their season, Sept. 11-12, at the Gopher Invitational at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn. It will mark the fifth time in the last seven seasons that Notre Dame opens its season at the Gopher Invite and the first time since ’09-10 when that squad earned a sixth place result.
“Spring Hill is easily one of the very best conditioned golf courses in the country and a great test for our players,” said Kubinski. “We’ve had some success there too, so we’re looking forward to a return.”
A trip to the Land of Lincoln awaits Sept. 16-18 for the Irish as they head to the University of Illinois Olympia Field Invitational at Olympia Fields Country Club outside Chicago, Ill. It will mark the first time the Irish have competed in the three-day event.
“This event is typically one of the strongest couple of fields of the year,” remarked Kubinski. “Olympia Fields, as a major championship venue, will again be a fantastic test for us. It’s also the home course for one of our players, Max Scodro. Bringing a player home or to his home locale for a collegiate event is something we try to do for each of our players in our scheduling, at least some point over their four years.”
Notre Dame returns to its home course at the end of September, playing host to the sixth-annual Fighting Irish Gridirion Golf Classic on Sept. 26-27 at the Warren Golf Course. Last season, the Irish earned a runner-up finish after putting together a 54-hole total of 859 (+19). Tom Usher paced the Irish, finishing seventh individually with a mark of 212 (+2). Over the first five FIGGC tournaments, the Irish have earned two runner-up results (’06, ’11), while claiming medalist honors in ’10.
“Over the five previous FIGGC events we’ve recorded a win and two runner-up finishes, so a little home cooking can go a long way,” stated Kubinski. “It’s also meaningful to host a great event on the Warren Golf Course, a course we feel is the very best on-campus golf course in the country.”
The fall docket concludes with the Invite at Kiawah (Oct. 17-18) at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in Kiawah, S.C., and the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) at the Royal Oaks Golf Club in Dallas, Texas. The Irish will play in the Invite at Kiawah for the second-straight year after finishing runner-up last season (879, +15), while they will compete at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate for the first time.
“We are excited to be heading back to Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, the host site for the upcoming 2012 PGA Championship,” said Kubinski. “We had a great opportunity to win in last year’s inaugural invitational on the Pete Dye jewel but came up just a little short. It was still a great experience for what was then a pretty young team and really set the tone for our strong fall campaign.
“Then we finish up our fall slate at Baylor’s event in Dallas,” continued Kubinski. “Royal Oaks is the host site. It’s a great, great event on another championship course. Again, we’re looking forward to facing another strong field.”
The 2011-12 Irish return a deep, tournament-savvy roster to the fold, including each of their top five stroke averages from last campaign. Additionally, the top-three stroke average players of Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) played in all 30 rounds of the tournament schedule last year, while Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) participated in nine tournaments as part of the five-man rotation and Tom Usher (Baildon, England) competed in eight before injury shortened his season.
“It’s great to have three seniors back who have represented Notre Dame so often these last couple of years,” commented Kubinski. “Adding that to what Niall and Paul experienced last year and we have a very good recipe for success. Yet, as much as any coach looks forward to returning several members of a successful team and sets goals to improve on past success, I’m equally excited to welcome in our three freshmen and watch them compete for opportunities within our lineup. Last year’s team was built on competitiveness. I think that’s a key to us achieving even greater things this season. We have an environment of competition on a daily basis. I expect that fact will make us a stronger team moving forward.”