April 22, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men's golf squad finished the regular season victorious after carding a two-round total of 564 (-4), defeating second-place Illinois State by 36 shots, in the third-annual Battle at the Warren tournament on Sunday at the Warren Golf Course. Tom Usher fired a 140 (68-72, -2) to take home Medalist distinction on a cold and windy day in Notre Dame, Ind.
“Today's win was a very good one for us,” said Irish head coach Jim Kubinski. “It was a true team win, with so many strong contributions. Like our win against Illinois last Sunday, it gives us a boost of confidence and some great momentum. We've talked about needing four scores to play to the level we believe we can and we've had that the last couple times out. It's not only fun to see but it validates the work our guys are putting in."
Additionally, the top-six Irish golfers swept the top-six places on the leaderboard, combining for 42 birdies in the two rounds of play.
The Battle at the Warren is different than most tournaments as it uses a "play six, count four" format in which you have six players on your squad and only the top four scores count towards the team title.
This was the final opportunity for Irish seniors - Max Scodro, Ryan Coughlin, Tom Usher and Chris Walker - to play on their home course (Warren Golf Course) in tournament play. Junior Paul McNamara III and sophomore Niall Platt joined the four seniors as entrants eligible for the team title.
"I was so proud of our seniors today,” stated Kubinski. “They've accomplished a great deal here at Notre Dame and in being around them each day, it's easy to see why.” … ”To a man, our seniors show what ND spirit is about. We've had some good events, and some disappointments along the way but these guys have kept our goals in sight. I'm proud of who they are.”
After firing a three-under par opening round, the Irish kept their foot on the gas, shooting a one-under par 283 in the afternoon on the back of Walker's three-under par 68 (low afternoon round).
Shooting one of only three rounds of par or better in the afternoon, Coughlin carded three birdies, two bogeys and 13 pars en route to final round 71 (E).
“Ryan (Coughlin) is a senior walk-on who had to fight for every opportunity, “ said Kubinski. “He came out and made a big contribution. He started both rounds with a bad hole or tough stretch and yet played under par the rest of the way.”
The triumvirate of Usher, Platt and Scodro closed by firing matching 72's on the way to first, second and third place finishes, respectively.
“Watching Tom (Usher) go through a time when he didn't quite have his game, even having some people question his presence in our lineup, only to come out on top today with a win was pretty special,” remarked Kubinski. “He's a winner in more ways than one. No one on our team put in more time in preparation for this tournament. We couldn't have had a more deserving tournament champ today.”
Rounding out the team eligible scores, McNamara shot a 75 (+4) to finish with a two-round total of 145 (+3) to tie for fourth place with teammates Walker and Coughlin.
In the morning round, the Irish jumped out to an insurmountable 18-stroke lead after registering a three-under par 281. Led by the play of Usher (68, -3), Notre Dame combined for 24 birdies in the opening round, besting the next best team by 11 birdies.
McNamara played a consistent opening round, firing a one-under par 70. After making the turn at two-over par, Platt rolled in four birdie putts on the inward nine to finish with an even par 71.
Scodro's stellar iron play was on display in the morning as he made five birdies on the round; including birdieing two of three par three's. Scodro would finish the first round in a tie for fourth (72, +1).
Coughlin and Walker rounded out the team score's in the opening rounds shooting, 74 and 77, respectively.
No Irish player finished the first round ranked lower than 14th on the individual leaderboard and held the top four spots heading into the afternoon round.
Carreon led all individual entrants by following up an opening round 80 with a one-under par 70 (one of only four under-par rounds in the tournament), to finish in a tie for 12th (150).
Lane shot matching 77's (154) on the day to finish in a tie for 20th, his best finish of the season.
The group of Vitter, Wingo and Hjerpe all finished with a two-round total of 155, tying for 24th.
Grahek rounded out the Irish entrants, finishing the day with a 160 total, good for 30th place.
1st. University of Notre Dame 281-283=564 (-4)
2nd. Illinois State University 304-296=600 (+32)
3rd. Marquette University 302-299=601 (+33)
4th. University of Evansville 299-305=604 (+36)
5th. Bradley University 318-306=624 (+56)