Feb. 8, 2016
By Dan Colleran
DADE CITY, Fla. — The University of Notre Dame men’s golf team opened the spring season in style on Monday by posting a pair of thrilling wins in the Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play at the Lake Jovita Country Club.
The Irish defeated Ball State and Toledo to advance to tomorrow’s championship match versus Eastern Michigan.
“I loved our effort today,” Head Coach Jim Kubinski said. “We knew, especially in match play, that each match would be a fight all the way around and I’m proud of all six players in terms of their fight.”
Notre Dame opened the day with a match against in-state rival and tournament host Ball State. The teams ultimately ended up locked at 3-3 but based on combined margin of victory of the individual matches, the Irish earned the win to advance to the Championship bracket.
Against the Cardinals, freshmen Miguel Delgado (1 Up) and Ben Albin (4 & 2) as well as junior Liam Cox (1 Up) posted the Notre Dame victories. Matthew Rushton (3 & 1), Blake Barens (1 Up) and Kevin Conners (1 Up) suffered narrow defeats.
In the afternoon, the second-seeded Irish were pitted against third-seeded Toledo.
The teams played another tight contest, finishing at 3-3 with the Irish again earning the win on margin of victory, including decisive wins by Delgado (7 & 5) and freshman Kevin Conners (5 & 4).
With the combined 12-hole lead from the Delgado and Conners wins, Albin’s match proved to be the difference down the stretch. With darkness falling, Albin delivered birdies on two of his last three holes for a 2 & 1 victory, sealing the overall win for the Irish.
Notre Dame’s other afternoon scores included losses by Rushton (3 & 2), Barens (4 & 3) and Cox (1 Up).
All told, the freshman class accounted for five of Notre Dame’s six wins on the day, including two each by Delgado and Albin.
“Our three freshmen were pretty special today,” Kubinski added. “I’ve watched a lot of tournaments over the years and their collective heart and determination to compete is very impressive, I love their attitude and approach.”
The Irish will play fifth-seeded Eastern Michigan for the Yestingsmeier Match Play Championship tomorrow beginning at 8:30 a.m.
#1 Miami def. #8 Ohio, 3.5-2.5
#5 Eastern Michigan vs. #4 Xavier, halved 3-3*
#3 Toledo def. #6 Dayton, 3.5-2.5
#2 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ball State, halved 3-3*
* – Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame advance on tiebreaker (combined margin of victory in individual matches).
#5 Eastern Michigan def. #1 Miami, 4-2
#2 Notre Dame vs. #3 Toledo, halved 3-3*
* – Notre Dame advances on tiebreaker (combined margin of victory in individual matches).
#4 Xavier vs. #8 Ohio, halved 3-3*
#6 Dayton def. #7 Ball State, 3.5-2.5
* – Ohio advances on tiebreaker (combined margin of victory in individual matches).
Final Round Matchups
1st place — #2 Notre Dame vs. #5 Eastern Michigan
3rd place — #1 Miami vs. #3 Toledo
5th place — #6 Dayton vs. #8 Ohio
7th place — #4 Xavier vs. #7 Ball State
— 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).