April 20, 2016

By Dan Colleran

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Coming off a 33-stroke victory last weekend at the Battle of the Warren, the Notre Dame men’s golf team will look to carry that momentum into this weekend’s 2016 ACC Championship (April 22-24).

The Details
Date: April 22-24, 2016
Format: One round of play (18 holes) each day
Tee Times: Friday and Saturday’s first and second rounds will feature tee times from 8:30 – 12:10 p.m., while Sunday’s third round tee times will range from 8:30 – 10:10 (split tee start).
Location: New London, North Carolina
Course: The Old North State Country Club (Par-72; 7,102 Yards)
Live Scoring: www.theacc.com

First Round Pairings
8:30 – 9:10 a.m. | Boston College, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech
9:30 – 10:10 a.m. | Louisville, Georgia Tech, NC State
10:30 – 11:10 a.m. | North Carolina, Virginia, Duke
11:30 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. | Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State

Championship Coverage
— Live scoring will be available via the ACC’s website (www.theacc.com)

— On Saturday (beginning at 3:00 p.m.) and Sunday (beginning at 1:00 p.m.) ESPN3 will also have live coverage, with Mac McDonald (play-by-play) and Brandon Turner (color analyst) serving as the announcing team.

Starting Five
Notre Dame’s probable starting lineup includes freshman Ben Albin (1), junior Matthew Rushton (2), junior Blake Barens (3), freshman Miguel Delgado (4) and junior Liam Cox (5)

Player: career-best 18 | career-best 54
Ben Albin: 67 | 211
Matthew Rushton: 67 | 210
Blake Barens: 69 | 210
Miguel Delgado: 69 | 211
Liam Cox: 70 | 220

Last Time Out
The Irish posted a 33-stroke win in last weekend’s Battle at the Warren (April 16).

The one day, 36-hole event was designed to bridge to competition gap between the Clemson Invitational (April 1-3).

Behind a second round 67 (-4) that included eight birdies, freshman Ben Albin claimed medalist honors with a one-under par 141 total. It marked the first win of his career and he was the only golfer to finish the day under par.

Coach Kubinski recaps the win and what it means as the Irish head to the ACC Championship ââ’¬¦
“Saturday was a great win for us beyond the result. We showed how well we execute when our focus is on the shots, rather than external or unnecessary concerns that apply extra pressure. Our team played so well at home this season because our players are talented and, probably more so, because there’s no focus on the who, what and where when we are at home. Who we’re playing or what it means or any course concerns are not a focus at home. Our guys just go out and play. They’ve learned that same approach must be taken on the road too. A young team’s development is a process and one our guys have dedicated themselves to. Saturday’s finish gives us some great momentum and affirmation in this process. There’s a different look to us right now, a light bulb turning on type of look, which we’re excited about.”

Strong Springs
Ben Albin (13 rounds, 72.23 stroke average) and Matthew Rushton (13 rounds, 72.69 stroke average) and have put together strong spring seasons for the Irish.

Albin is, cumulatively this semester, just five-over par, while Rushton is +11.

Both Albin and Rushton have four top-25 finishes this semester, two top-10 finishes, while Albin added a win at last weekend’s Battle at the Warren.

Rushton Continues Consistency
— Junior Matthew Rushton, who missed the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate (Oct. 12-13) due to injury, has had another consistent season for Notre Dame and in nine tournaments has finished an average of nine strokes behind the medalist position.

— Rushton posted the first win of his Irish career at the season-opening Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge (Aug. 30) when he posted a six-under par 136 in the two-round tournament.

The Course
The 2016 championship will be the 15th-straight year, and 20th time overall, that the ACC Championship will be held at the Old North State Country Club. In addition to leading the Irish in the 2014 and 2015 events, Head Coach Jim Kubinski is also familiar with the course dating back to his tenure as an assistant coach with Duke University (2003-05).

Coach Kubinski scouts the course ââ’¬¦
“Old North State is a great venue for our ACC Championship. It’s tricky in spots, requiring patience, but allows for great birdie chances too. If the wind stays down, reasonably, I look for some red numbers across the board. We just have to put a sound plan into place, have the discipline to apply it and stay patient throughout.”

The Field
The ACC Championship will once again feature a highly competitive field, including six of the top-25 teams in the current Golfstat rankings: No. 10 Florida State, No. 11 Wake Forest, No. 12 Clemson, No. 20 Duke, No. 21 Virginia, and No. 24 North Carolina.

Notre Dame in the ACC Championship
This weekend’s tournament will mark Notre Dame’s third appearance in the ACC Championship.

— The Irish finished seventh in 2014 at eight-over par (294-287-291-872) and 11th in 2015 at 47-over par (303-305-303-911). The second round 287 in 2014 marks Notre Dame’s bets team round at the event.

— The top Fighting Irish individual finishes at the ACC Championship both came in 2014, including Patrick Grahek tying for ninth at three-under par (75-71-67-213) Niall Platt tying for 23rd at one-over par (72-72-73-217). Grahek’s third round 67 remains the single best Notre Dame round at an ACC Championship.

Current Irish in the ACC Championship
From Notre Dame’s projected starting lineup, only junior Matthew Rushton and Blake Barens have prior experience at the ACC Championship.

— Rushton tied for 35th in 2014 at six-over par (76-70-76-222) and then last season he tied for 46th at 12-over par (75-76-77-228).

— Barens tied for 43rd in 2015 at 11-over par (77-76-74-227).

Conference Success
— Prior to joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Notre Dame men’s golf team captured eight Big East Championships: 1995, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.

— ND —

Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and men’s golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).