May 18, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Notre Dame men's golf team used a second day 278 (-6) to climb into sole possession of sixth place at the 2012 NCAA Central Regional after Friday's action at the University of Michigan Golf Course with an overall score of 569 (+1). Notre Dame's 278 is the lowest single-round team score in Notre Dame history at the NCAA Championships.
"The last two days have been fun," stated Irish head coach Jim Kubinski. "We're as comfortable in this environment as any team I've been around. We weren't always that way. These guys have grown a great deal these last several weeks. We're all excited for the opportunity tomorrow."
Top-seeded USC moved to the top of the charts at the Central Regional after firing a second-day 272 (-12) to sit at 561 (-7) overall. Oregon, Kent State and TCU are tied for second at 562 (-6), while Virginia (568, E) check in at fifth. The top five team scores out of the regional advance to the NCAA Championship at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Senior Tom Usher (Baildon, England) led the charge for the Irish during Friday's round, firing a career-best round of 65 (-6). In addition to the round marking Usher's personal best, it also went into Notre Dame's NCAA Regional Championship record book as the lowest single-round score of all-time, besting Eric Deutch, Cole Isban and current sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) who all recorded 68's.
The 65 is the second sub-70 round of the season for Usher and goes into the season charts as the lowest gross score on the year (65) and matches the lowest to-par score (-6) alongside junior Paul McNamara III's first round at the Gopher Invitational to open the year.
Usher got his day off to a tremendous start, carding birdies on two of his first three holes. He then posted an additional six birdies along with eight pars over the proceeding 14 holes to move his score to eight under before suffering his only slip-up on the day with a double bogey on his final hole. Overall, Usher jumped 36 spots on the individual charts, moving from a tie for 65th after the first round of play to sole possession of 29th at two over par (144) after Friday.
"Tom has done some amazing things over his four years but none brighter than today," remarked Kubinski. "Especially in how he turned around yesterday's round. How many players can go 79-65 in a big tournament? Like any player, he has had ups-and-downs. Yet, he always finds a peak after any valley. His round helped push us into the thick of it. It's a great shot of confidence for all the guys. It also shows what kind of heart this team has."
Senior Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) also broke par for Notre Dame on the second day of competition, finishing at two under (69). After opening with a one under (34) opening nine, Scodro posted an identical one under (35) on the second nine to finish out his round. He posted four birdies, two bogeys and a team-best 12 pars on the day and overall is tied for ninth at three under (139).
McNamara, meanwhile, finished his second round one over (72) but again closed strong on his inward nine. After beginning his round with a 39 (+4) on his first nine holes, the junior bounced back to post six pars and three birdies on his final nine to close with a 33 (-3). Overall, McNamara is tied for 19th at 142 (E).
Platt matched McNamara with a 72 (+1) of his own during the second round to post the final score to the team total. After opening with an 81 (+10) Thursday, the Irish sophomore marked down four birdies and 10 pars to offset three bogeys and a double bogey Friday to complete his nine-shot improvement from the first round. Platt is tied for 63rd at 11 over (153) after two rounds of play.
Senior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) did not count toward the team total after posting a 75 (+4). Despite being hurt by a three-hole stretch that saw him go bogey, double bogey, bogey, Walker played the remaining 15 holes at even par, including a lone birdie on the par-5, third hole. Overall, Walker is fourth among the Irish rotation and tied for 38th overall at 147 (+5).
Notre Dame concludes its 2012 NCAA Central Regional Saturday as the team looks to qualify for the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1966. The Irish will play their final round alongside TCU and Virginia. The first of five tee times goes out at 7:50 a.m. (ET) off of the first tee.
For live scoring be sure to visit Golfstat.com and check back with UND.com following the conclusion of the third round for a complete recap of the Irish.
Top Five Teams (after 36 holes): 1. USC 561 -7 T2. Oregon 562 -6 T2. Kent State 562 -6 T2. TCU 562 -6 5. Virginia 568 E