Oct. 11, 2014
DURHAM, N.C. – Sophomore Matthew Rushton made a total of six birdies during his first round of the Rod Myers Invitational on Saturday, entrenching himself in the tournament’s top five. Eight straight pars on the scorecard for the University of Notre Dame men’s golfer to open the afternoon were halted as severe weather impacted the second round of the event at the Duke University Golf Club.
After two extended weather delays disrupted much of the round’s schedule progression, play was officially suspended just before 5:30 p.m. (ET). The Rod Myers Invitational was officially shortened to a 36-hole tournament due to the forecast of additional inclement weather throughout the weekend, with play expected to resume at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Notre Dame will continue the final round in 11th place after posting an official first round score of eight-over-par 296, with all players nearly having made the turn toward the back nine.
Teeing off at No. 10, Rushton birdied the par 5 11th and 14th holes to offset a lone bogey as part of an opening nine 35 (-1). The Cape Town, South Africa native quickly made the turn with a birdie at the 456-yard first hole to move to two-under-par. After giving a stroke back at the second hole, Rushton bounced back with a birdie at the par 3 fourth hole to slide back to two-under.
Rushton closed out the opening round with a surge, kicking in birdies at the par 4 sixth and par 5 ninth holes to cap a 68 (-4), tying three other players for second place. Rushton’s cumulative par 5 scoring clip of three-under-par was the second-best in the field, enabling Notre Dame to post a team score of nine-under on the par 5s at the Duke Golf Club.
Senior Patrick Grahek shook off a front nine three-over-par 39 with three birdies on the back side of his opening round. The Alpharetta, Georgia native rolled in birdies at the first, fourth and seventh holes as part of an incoming even par 36, giving Grahek a three-over 75 and a share of 42nd place.
Fresh off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at the Fighting Irish Golf Classic, junior Cory Sciupider made five birdies during his first round of the Rod Myers Invitational on Saturday. The Etowah, North Carolina native could not overcome a slew of scores over par during his opening 18, however, closing the round in a tie for 50th place with a 76 (+4).
Senior Tyler Wingo placed in solo 59th with a five-over score of 77, with freshman Thomas Steve rounding out the Notre Dame starting lineup with an 82. Sophomore Blake Barens, competing as an individual, carded an 81.
North Carolina got off to a hot start early in its front nine, reaching a high watermark of 15-under-par before capping the day with a score of 278 (-10) and a three-stroke lead. East Carolina fired a cumulative seven-under-par 281 to hold solo runner-up honors, with Baylor and Tulsa tied for third place after matching totals of 286 (-2). Charlotte and Liberty each tied for fifth place at one-under-par following the morning 18 (287).
North Carolina’s Ben Griffin birdied four straight holes during a stretch in his front nine on Saturday, turning in just a single bogey on the way in to claiming a one-shot lead with a five-under 67. Rushton, North Carolina’s William Register, East Carolina’s George Kilgore and Liberty’s Hutson Chandler all carded identical rounds of four-under-par 68 to tie for second place.
Rod Myers Invitational-Duke University Golf Club-Par-72, 7,136 Yds.
*SECOND ROUND SUSPENDED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, TOURNAMENT SHORTENED TO 36 HOLES*
TEAMS (After Round 1): 1. North Carolina 278, -10; 2. East Carolina 281, -7; T3. Baylor 286, -2; T3. Tulsa 286, -2; T5. Charlotte 287, -1; T5. Liberty 287, -1; 7. Michigan State 288, E; 8. Duke 291, +3; T9. Northwestern 295, +7; T9. Iowa 295, +7; 11. Notre Dame 296, +8; 12. Dartmouth 304, +16.
TOP-10 INDIVIDUALS (After Round 1): 1. Ben Griffin (North Carolina) 67, -5; T2. Matthew Rushton (Notre Dame) 68, -4; T2. William Register (North Carolina) 68, -4; T2. George Kilgore (East Carolina) 68, -4; T2. Hutson Chandler (Liberty) 68, -4; T6. Filippo Zucchetti (Baylor) 69, -3; T6. Sam Weatherhead (Michigan State) 69, -3; T6. Kyle Jones (Baylor) 69, -3; T6. Matt Mabrey (Tulsa) 69, -3; T10. Freddy Anderson * (Baylor) 70, -2; T10. Thomas Rowland (Charlotte) 70, -2; T10. Jacob Hicks (East Carolina) 70, -2; T10. Mathieu Fenasse (Liberty) 70, -2.
NOTRE DAME INDIVIDUALS (After Round 1): T2. Matthew Rushton 68, -4; T42. Patrick Grahek 75, +3; T50. Cory Sciupider 76, +4; 59. Tyler Wingo 77, +5; T67. Blake Barens * 81, +9; 70. Thomas Steve 82, +10.
*- Played as an individual