March 24, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A strong afternoon round at the Lone Star Invitational on Monday at the Briggs Ranch Golf Club yielded the best spring score for the University of Notre Dame men’s golf team. The Irish posted a second round four-under-par 284, and will enter the third and final round in 11th place at 586 (302-284).
The 18-stroke improvement from rounds one to two for Notre Dame was the best for the Irish thus far in the 2013-14 campaign. Four of the team’s five starters added rounds at even par or better during the afternoon 18, the first time this season that the four countable lineup scores for the Irish in a given round were all par or better.
"I'm really proud of all five guys for storming back after a really tough start this morning,” Notre Dame head coach Jim Kubinski said. “The morning round was a combination of unforced errors, most often in distance control, combined with a few strange bounces. The boys never let it get them down though. Four of our five fired much lower afternoon rounds and the one who didn't, Patrick, played a mostly air tight round. This Irish team showed some fight!”
Following a two-over par 74 to open his day, senior tri-captain Niall Platt birdied a total of six holes during his afternoon round, working his way into the tournament’s top 20. Platt birdied four holes on the Briggs Ranch back nine, including the par 3 15th and 17th holes, as part of his three-under 33 on the back side. Platt closed the day with his sixth birdie of his second round to post a three-under 69 (74-69-143), tying for 16th place.
It was the Santa Barbara, Calif. native’s eighth under par round of 2014, including his fourth score in the 60s.
“Niall continues to show what a nationally competitive player he is,” Kubinski said. “His 69 this afternoon was rock solid. With a break or two, he had 66 in his sights. It was just a great job competing all-around.”
Junior Patrick Grahek continued his steady spring play on Monday, birdieing four holes during his morning even par 72. Grahek added back-to-back birdies at the par 5 13th and par 4 14th holes to offset an early bogey in round two to move back to one-under-par. After 10 straight pars, Grahek closed with a birdie-bogey finish for his second straight 72 (72-72-144) and a share of 19th place at even par.
“Patrick continues to wear out the greens in regulation,” Kubinski said. “He has worked hard on swing changes the last year or so. His action is very, very sound at this point. With his improved mental focus and positive attitude, he was on cruise control today.”
Freshman Matt Rushton avenged a morning double bogey on his first hole of the afternoon, birdieing the par 5 seventh hole to begin his second round at one-under par. Rushton added four birdies over the remainder of his round to shoot an afternoon even par 72 and snag a tie for 50th place (77-72-149).
Freshman Liam Cox birdied his last three holes to card a second round one-under 71, and move into a tie for 57th place (79-71-150). Senior tri-captain and San Antonio native Andrew Carreon rounded out the Irish lineup with a day one total of 158 (82-76).
“I'm so proud of our freshmen,” Kubinski said. “They combined for 143 this afternoon, which is evidence of their growing comfort at this level.
“Andrew didn't have his best today but, to be fair to him, he was subbing in for Cory Sciupider and hadn't played since our Alumni Match weekend in February,” Kubinski added. “He drove it well. Better still, I'm proud of his positive attitude and feel he'll play well tomorrow.”
No. 20 New Mexico opened a nine-stroke lead in the team competition carding rounds of 281-282-563 to post 13-under-par. No. 38 Purdue carded the best score of the tournament, firing a combined 280 to earn runner-up honors at four-under (292-280-572). Southeastern Louisiana (288-285) and No. 25 Baylor (283-290) tied for third place at three-under-par 573, with Rice the only other team below par 575 (283-292, -1).
New Mexico’s Victor Perez did not record a bogey over his 36 holes, posting a two-round score of 137 (67-70) to tie Louisiana Tech’s Travis Wilmore (68-69) at seven-under-par. Southeastern Louisiana’s Grady Brame (67-71) and Sacramento State’s Owen Taylor (71-67) each claimed a share of third place at 138, with Central Arkansas’ Pep Angles (72-67) and Baylor’s Niclas Mansson (68-71) tied for fifth place at 139.
“We were behind the eight ball after this morning's round but the afternoon has given us a chance to move up into the top five tomorrow,” Kubinski said. “We simply need to be decisive again and make committed swings. When we do those things, we're capable of low rounds."
The third and final round of the Lone Star Invitational is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. (CT) with a shotgun start.