April 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The University of Notre Dame men's golf team returns to the links this week as it takes part in the All-American Intercollegiate Monday and Tuesday at The Woodlands Country Club in The Woodlands, Texas. The tournament serves as a homecoming of sorts for senior Chris Walker who came to the Irish from The Woodlands.
"It's great to be able to take another senior back home for a great tournament," stated Irish head coach Jim Kubinski. "We enjoyed playing Olympia Fields in September, at Max's home course. We're looking forward to taking Chris back to The Woodlands this weekend."
THE LINEUP: Notre Dame returns to its usual lineup as senior Tom Usher (Baildon, England) returns to the rotation along with fellow seniors Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) and Walker. Rounding out the five-man squad is junior Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) and sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
"The lineup is a familiar one, a group that started most of the last two seasons," explained Kubinski. "Tom is back in there after a rest last time out and has looked strong in our practice rounds. Paul earned his spot over a 72-hole qualifier last week. He's healthy and focused on getting some positive momentum going. Of course Max and Niall have played well this season and form a good 1-2 punch. Chris has played solidly in practice this past week and is excited to get back to his home course."
Scodro looks to continue to add to a senior season that has seen him post four top-10 finishes, seven top-25 finishes and six team-leading efforts all while carding a 71.43 stroke average to-date on the season. Platt has also posted one team-leading effort while earning three top-25 results.
THE COURSE: The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course lays out as a 7,018-yard, par-72 golf course. The course, designed by nationally recognized design firm von Hagge-Devlin, has played host to the PGA Tour's Insperity Championship - formerly the Administaff Small Business Classic - since 2008.
"As the former host to the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open, it's a great test," remarked Kubinski. "I believe this is the fifth tournament we've played this season that has hosted a professional event from one of the major tours (Olympia Fields/US Open; Kiawah/Ryder Cup and PGA Championship; Reunion Resort/ LPGA Tour, Great Waters / PGA Tour Andersen Consulting matches in the 1990's and The Woodlands). That has been a goal of ours. We want our players competing in strong fields and on the best courses."
THE FIELD: The All-American Intercollegiate features a deep, 15-team field. Alongside the Irish in this year's field are (Golfstat rankings in parentheses): Arkansas (10), Baylor (32), Clemson (19), Houston (59), Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas (32), Rice, SMU (44), Southeastern Louisiana, Texas A&M (14), Texas State, Tulsa and UT-Arlington.
"The field is one of the strongest of the season," stated Kubinski. "I feel like I've said that often this year but our schedule has been very, very good. We've played more ranked teams this season than I can remember. I think it's good for our boys. If we can start to post the third and fourth scores we're capable of, I think we'll see our confidence level rise a great deal. I'm looking for a solid effort this week. Easter is about a lot of things and new beginnings is one. I feel this week's event is the beginning of our push toward the postseason. We're looking for those couple improved scores each round and some consistent play through the lineup. This week will be a nice test."
THE SCHEDULE/SCORING: The All-American Intercollegiate is a two-day, 54-hole tournament, taking place Monday and Tuesday. The first day will feature 36 holes of golf beginning with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. (ET). Tuesday's final round will get underway with a split-tee start at 9:00 a.m. All rounds will feature the typical five-count-four scoring system.
Live scoring of the tournament can be tracked via Golfstat.com. Be sure to check back with UND.com for a complete recap of the Irish after each day of competition.