Feb. 14, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
DADE CITY, Fla. - On Valentine's Day, the Notre Dame men's golf team proved to be a perfect match for the Yestingsmeier Match Play championship title.
Freshman Davis Lamb won his match on the final hole to lift the Irish to a 3.5-2.5 win over Seton Hall in Tuesday's final at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club outside of Tampa. The Irish, seeded second in the eight-team field, had advanced to today's final with a 4-2 quarterfinal win over DePaul and a 4-2 semifinal victory over Ball State, both on Monday.
This is Notre Dame's second team win this year with a full field, joining its Oct. 17-18 triumph in the 12-team Georgetown Intercollegiate. The Irish have now won two events with at least eight teams in the field for the first time since 2011-12 when Notre Dame claimed both a 16-team match play event and the 12-team BIG EAST Championship. That 2011-12 team also claimed a five-school Battle at the Warren just as this year's Irish won the three-team Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge in September.
Lamb Chops Down Pirates
With match play, like a collegiate tennis match, you never know whom the pressure to decide a match will fall upon. Tuesday, it came down to freshman Davis Lamb, playing in the No. 6 position against Kevin O'Brien. As the tandem concluded their match, the team score stood tied at 2.5. Lamb led by three holes at the turn, but O'Brien charged back to level the match with three holes to play.
The tandem entered their 18th and final hole all square. An O'Brien win would have given Seton Hall the championship. Lamb needed to split the hole to keep the team score level at 3-3 with the Irish taking the championship through the tie breaking procedures. While Lamb needed only to match O'Brien, he did one better. The freshman from Potomac, Maryland, outright won the final hole and, with it, both his match and the entire team's match.
1. Lloyd Jefferson Go (SHU) def. Blake Barens (ND), 2 up
2. Ben Albin (ND) def. Gen Nagai (SHU), 4 and 3
3. Chris Yeom (SHU) def. Miguel Delgado (ND), 2 up
4. Hunter Ostrom (ND) def. Alex Chalk (SHU), 4 and 2
5. John Felitto (ND) vs. Linus Yip (SHU), all square
6. Davis Lamb (ND) def. Kevin O'Brien (SHU), 1 up
Coach Kubinski Says
"This was a great team win. We had contributions up and down our lineup this week. Our depth was the difference in each match. Our three freshmen, filling the 4-5-6 positions, really cleaned house, going 7-1-1 on the week. That's a big deal for us, something we've been looking for the past couple of seasons. We've felt great about the season Blake is having, and the leadership he brings, as well as what our sophomores are about. Their compete level is as high as I've coached. We've been working to deepen our lineup though and we saw what that means this week.
"We'll enjoy the win today but get right back to work on Thursday. I can't ask for much more this week though. Our players exhibited all the things we've asked them for; the positive attitude, the great focus, and the emotional maturity. We'll look to take this momentum forward to Tucson and keep building."
About the Format
Typical match play scoring rules applied for the individual matches. The two golfers played 18 holes with no cumulative stroke count kept, rather who won each hole. The winner of the most holes won the match. The six individual matches were then added up to compute a team score and decide which University was the victor. If there was a 3-3 tie among the six matches, a tiebreaker based upon holes won and margins was implemented.
About the Course
The Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club is located in Dade City, Florida, about a half an hour northeast of Tampa. The par-72 Lake Jovita South Course played at 7,153 yards for this event.
The Irish will return to action Feb. 27-28, competing in the National Invitational Tournament at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame's women's basketball and men's golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.