Aug. 30, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame men's golf junior Matthew Rushton captured medalist honors at the 2015 Kickoff Challenge on Sunday (Aug. 30) at the Warren Golf Course, while the Irish tied for second at the second-annual event.
Toledo (282-285-567) captured the team title, while Notre Dame (287-292-579) and IUPUI (286-293-579) tied for second.
Rushton fired back-to-back 68's to finish at six-under par (136), two strokes clear of Toledo's Otto Black (67-71-138).
"I'm Really proud of Matt for earning his first collegiate win," head coach Jim Kubinski said. "He has dedicated himself to becoming a top player and a leader. I'm very pleased with the strides he has made in terms of managing his emotions, enabling him to keep his poise and execute shots."
Rushton and Toledo's Stephen Watts were the only two golfers to turn in back-to-back under par rounds on the day.
"The exciting thing is, Matt will tell you himself that he has another gear to work towards," Kubinski added.
Playing as an individual, Toledo's Mike Lee (67-71-138) placed third, followed by Watts (70-70-140). Rylan Porter (68-73-141) of IUPUI rounded out the top five.
"Our freshmen, Ben and Miguel, really battled today," Kubinski continued. "They did a great job in the morning round, their first collegiate competition. Their afternoon scores were deceiving. Each had two holes bite them, turning a 72 or 73 into where they ended. They learned a lot today, which is exciting for our team."
Junior Blake Barens (77-71-148) also tied for 11th.
"I was proud of how Blake put a rough morning round behind him and posted an even-par 71 in the afternoon. That's a good sign for us, and something he'll build upon."
Rounding out the Notre Dame starting five, Cory Scuipider (76-77-153) placed 19th.
Notre Dame also had five golfers compete as individuals at the event, including freshman Kevin Conners (74-75-149), who tied for 14th. Sophomore Jens Verhey (73-77-150) placed 16th, while junior Liam Cox (81-74-155) and sophomore Thomas Steve (79-76-155) tied for 20th. Senior Zach Toste (78-78-156) finished 22nd.
"We're disappointed at not defending the crown we won in this event last year but, big picture, we accomplished some things I wanted to see today and can improve on so many things with some focused work together," Kubinski said. "This team has a good vibe. We'll be working toward Duke starting tomorrow."
It marked the second year in a row an Irish golfer placed first at the event. Last season, Notre Dame's Patrick Grahek (67-69-136) shared medalist honors with IUPUI's Santiago Ruiz (70-66-136).
Notre Dame will continue the 2015-16 season at Rod Myers Invitational on Sept. 12-13. The tournament will be hosted by Duke University at the Duke Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina.
Pl. Name (score/school)
1. Matthew Rushton (68-68-136/Notre Dame)
2. Otto Black (67-71-138/Toledo)
2. Mike Lee (67-71-138/Toledo)*
4. Stephen Watts (70-70-140/Toledo)
5. Rylan Porter (68-73-141/IUPUI)
6. Jackson Juerling (69-73-142/IUPUI)
7. Jamie Knipe (72-71-143/Toledo)
8. Spencer Shoemaker (73-73-146/Toledo)
9. Colin Joseph (72-74-146/Toledo)*
10. Austin Winings (74-73-147/IUPUI)
11. Blake Barens (77-71-148/Notre Dame)
11. Ben Albin (72-76-148/Notre Dame)
11. Miguel Delgado (71-77-148/Notre Dame)
14. Kevin Conners (74-75-149/Notre Dame)*
14. Bryce Very (75-74-149/IUPUI)
16. Jens Verhey (73-77-150/Notre Dame)*
17. Jordan Lenard (76-75-151/IUPUI)
18. Jay Holderman (74-78-152/IUPUI)*
19. Cory Sciupider (76-77-153/Notre Dame)
20. Liam Cox (81-74-155/Notre Dame)*
20. Thomas Steve (79-76-155/Notre Dame)*
22. Zach Toste (78-78-156/Notre Dame)*
23. Thomas Shindler (80-78-158/Toledo)
24. Cameron Smith (79-81-160/IUPUI)*
* - Individual
-- by Dan Colleran, Athletics Communications Associate Director