April 28, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Notre Dame men's golf team opened its second straight title defense at the Watson Course at Reunion Resort Sunday with a solid combined effort, firing a score of 288 (E) in the first round of the 2013 BIG EAST Championship.
The Irish, who won last year's conference tournament by 16 strokes at 12-under par (852), logged a total of 17 birdies on day one to take a two-shot advantage over USF (290, +2).
Senior Paul McNamara III, the solo fifth-place finisher at last season's BIG EAST Championship, tied for second after his opening 18 holes with a two-under par 70 to lead the Notre Dame lineup. McNamara birdied four holes during his round, including three on the back nine, to come in with a back side 34 (-2).
Junior Niall Platt, in the individual lead for most of the first round, closed with a 71 (-1) to share sixth place. Platt raced out of the gate with four birdies in his first six holes before making nine straight pars.
Freshman Cory Sciupider found himself at three-over par through 15 holes in his first career BIG EAST Championship start before finishing with a flourish, playing his final three holes in three-under par. Sciupider birdied the par 4 16th, par 5 17th and par 4 18th holes to card an even par 72 and claim a piece of 10th place.
Playing in just his second career collegiate tournament, freshman Zach Toste closed his opening round with three birdies on the back nine to fire a three-over 75 and tie for 27th place. Toste played the par 5 14th and the par 5 17th holes on the way in as part of a back nine one-under par, 35.
Marquette utilized a pair of top-10 results from Zach Gaugert (71, -1) and Patrick Sanchez (72, E) to take third place at four-over par, 292. Connecticut (294, +6) posted the fourth-best score on day one, while No. 1 seed Louisville, DePaul and Villanova shared fifth place with matching rounds of 297 (+9).
Cincinnati's David Tepe made five birdies on his round to secure the overnight lead in the individual draw with a three-under par 69. McNamara, Ryan Gay (St. John's), Chase Koepka (USF) and Zach Zaback (Connecticut) share second place after carding matching two-under par rounds of 70.
The second round of the BIG EAST Championship is scheduled to get under way Monday at 8 a.m. on the Watson Course at Reunion Resort.
2013 BIG EAST Championship
Watson Course, Reunion Resort
Overall Team Scores:
1. Notre Dame 288 (E); 2. USF 290 (+2); 3. Marquette 292 (+4); 4. Connecticut 294 (+6); T5. Louisville 297 (+9); T5. DePaul 297 (+9); T5. Villanova 297 (+9); T8. Cincinnati 298 (+10); T8. St. John's 298 (+10); 10. Georgetown 299 (+11); 11. Rutgers 300 (+12); 12. Seton Hall 313 (+25).
1. David Tepe (UC) 69, -3; T2. Paul McNamara III (ND) 70, -2; T2. Ryan Gay (STJ) 70, -2; T2. Chase Koepka (USF) 70, -2; T2. Zack Zaback (UCONN) 70, -2; T6. Niall Platt (ND) 71, -1; T6. Zach Gaugert (MAR) 71, -1; T6. Hyung Mo Kim (RU) 71, -1; T6. Jeffery Meltzer (USF) 71, -1; T10. Cory Sciupider (ND) 72, E; T10. Patrick Sanchez (MAR) 72, E; T10. No. 94 Robin Sciot-Siegrist (UL) 72, E; T10. Trey Valentine (USF) 72, E.
Notre Dame Individuals:
T2. Paul McNamara III 70, -2; T6. Niall Platt 71, -1; T10. Cory Sciupider 72, E; T27. Zach Toste 75, +3; 59. Andrew Lane 83, +11.
Notre Dame Head Coach Jim Kubinski
"We good about the start. The wind was tricky out there. 288 was a good score at over 7,000 yards. We'll take our same approach tomorrow, not concerning ourselves with things we can't control. Just positive thoughts, focusing on only the shot we're about to play and playing the golf course, without concern for the other teams. I liked how we did those things today. It's a good formula in our game."
On the strong play of Paul McNamara III and Niall Platt
"Paul went out first for us to set a good tone and did a beautiful job. He played an exceptionally solid round, hitting fairways and greens. Niall had it three under most of the day, through 15, but made a couple bogeys on 16 and 17. But he really played well all day. Niall has low rounds in him, so it was nice to see him trust his game today."
Freshmen Cory Sciupider and Zach Toste taking part in their first BIG EAST Championship
"I was so proud of our freshmen. Cory kept control of his emotions pretty well and turned +3 into a great round by finishing with three birdies. Zach had a little too much adrenaline early. It led to three quick bogeys but he showed great maturity in putting the start behind him and battling his way to even the last 15 holes."