Feb. 14, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Notre Dame men's golf team, playing in its first match play event of the season, carded a pair of 4.0-2.0 victories Tuesday over Central Arkansas and USC Upstate to claim The Match Play title at the Reunion Resort Watson Course. The Irish used perfect 4-0 efforts from seniors Tom Usher (Baildon, England) and Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) as well sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) over the two-day tournament.
After advancing to the semifinals with victories over Loyola-Chicago (5.5-0.5) and BIG EAST foe Villanova (4.0-2.0) on Monday, the Irish struggled getting out of the gates on the front nine against Central Arkansas, who earned its spot in the final four with wins over Connecticut (3.5-2.5) and VCU (3.0-3.0) as a result of tie-breaker rules.
As the two teams reached the turn in all six matches, the Irish found themselves trailing in four of the six contests, including three of the four being by three or more holes. Usher and Walker found themselves three down to Central Arkansas' David Morago and Austen Moix, respectively, after nine holes before climbing back on the back nine for identical one-up victories.
Platt, meanwhile, continued to show his match play savvy in his opening contest against Central Arkansas' Chris Cooke. With the contest moved to dormie after the 15th hole, Platt posted a win on the 16th hole to claim the match, 4&2. Freshman Tyler Wingo (Fairfax, Va.) carded the other Irish victory on the morning, holding on for a one-up triumph over Antonio Costa.
Scodro, however, bounced back in his afternoon session to set the tone for the championship match against USC Upstate, who advanced to the title match after defeating USF, 4.5-1.5. The Irish senior again served as the anchor, teeing up last for Notre Dame and earning a 5&4 decision over Adam Goins.
Walker made much quicker work of his second match of the day, taking to the course first amongst the Irish and defeating Danny Brock 4&3. Platt, identical to his opening contest, had the match at dormie against Brad Sill entering the 16th hole before winning that hole and the match 4&2. Usher claimed the final point of the match for the Irish, defeating Matthew Hopper 3&2.
Notre Dame's lone losses of the championship match came as McNamara fell to Tyler Comer (4&3) and Wingo suffered his first defeat of the event, falling 4&2 to Brian Horton.
The victory is the first of the season for Notre Dame and also marks the first time in The Match Play's three-year history that the Irish have won the event. Notre Dame now breaks until March 3-4 when it heads to the Alumni Match Weekend in Hilton Head Island, S.C., before returning to NCAA action March 16-18 at the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.
Semifinals - Notre Dame 4.0, Central Arkansas 2.0 Matchups: Score Pep Angles (UCA) def. Max Scodro (ND) 4 & 3 Tom Usher (ND) def. David Morago (UCA) 1 up Niall Platt (ND) def. Chris Cooke (UCA) 4 & 2 Josh Sims (UCA) def. Paul McNamara III (ND) 3 & 2 Tyler Wingo (ND) def. Antonio Costa (UCA) 1 up Chris Walker (ND) def. Austen Moix (UCA) 1 up
Finals - Notre Dame 4.0, USC Upstate 2.0 Matchups: Score Max Scodro (ND) def. Adam Goins (USCU) 5 & 4 Tom Usher (ND) def. Matthew Hopper (USCU) 3 & 2 Niall Platt (ND) def. Brad Sill (USCU) 4 & 2 Tyler Comer (USCU) def. Paul McNamara III (ND) 4 & 3 Brian Horton (USCU) def. Tyler Wingo (ND) 4 & 2 Chris Walker (ND) def. Danny Brock (USCU) 4 & 3