May 16, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men's golf team is set to begin the 2012 NCAA Central Regional at 8:50 a.m. (ET) Thursday at the U-M Varsity Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Fla. The Irish look to claim one of the five top spots in the 13-team regional field to earn a spot at the 2012 NCAA Championship at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., May 29-June 3.
2012 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Central Regional
Ann Arbor, Mich. U-M Golf Course
First Round - Thursday, May 17
Tee Time: 8:50 a.m. (ET) - 10th Hole
Pairing: N.C. State and Ohio State
Second Round - Friday, May 18
Tee Time: TBA
Third Round - Saturday, May 19
Tee Time: TBA
Live stats available at www.golfstat.com
Irish Set To Compete At NCAA Central Regional This Weekend
Notre Dame will step onto the course in NCAA postseason play for the 35th time in program history, and the second time in as many seasons, when it participates in the NCAA Central Regional Thursday-Saturday at the University of Michigan Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Irish, who won the 1944 NCAA title and have 19 top-10 NCAA finishes to their credit, will be looking to take the next step in their return to national prominence with a trip back to the NCAA finals for the first time since 1966.
Notre Dame comes into the weekend playing some of its best golf of the year, claiming the BIG EAST Tournament for the eighth time since joining the conference and a stroke average of 292.40, the lowest stroke average, so far, since the count-four stroke average began in 1980.
Following The Irish
Live scoring (every three holes) for the NCAA Central Regional will be available through the Golfstat web site (www.golfstat.com). Complete results following each day's action also will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com).
The Tournament Format
A total of 13 five-man teams (65 participants plus 10 individual participants from non-competing teams) will be taking part in the NCAA Central Regional. Conventional collegiate golf team scoring rules will apply; with the lowest four scores in the five-man lineup for each round counting toward the team total. The five teams with the lowest 54-hole scores (and the lowest-scoring individual not on a top-five finisher) will advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held May 29-June 3 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisade, Calif.
In case of team ties for NCAA Championship berths, a sudden-death playoff will be utilized, with the top four individual scores on each hole combined for the team total. Individual ties will be broken after any team playoff has concluded.
Notre Dame has faced seven of the 13 teams in this weekend's Central Regional, sporting a combined record of 3-5 (.375) against those squads. The highest-seeded team in the regional that the Irish have defeated this year is No. 3 seeded and 18th ranked (according to Golfstat) Kent State, whom Notre Dame bested by 14 strokes at the season opening event for the Irish, the Gopher Invitational, back in September. The Irish also have defeated N.C. State at the Schenkel Invitational as well as Ohio State at the Fighting Illini Invitational.
BIG EAST Champs Again!
In the team's last tournament before learning its NCAA fate, Notre Dame returned to the top of the BIG EAST Conference, winning the conference tournament for the eighth time in program history and second consecutive season. They are the first team to have won back-to-back conference crowns since they won three straight titles from 2004-06.
Max Scodro also made history at the event, leading the charge for the Irish for the second straight year, finishing as the tournament's individual medalist with a 54-hole score of 210 (-6). With the win he became the first back-to-back individual medalist since Pat Fogarty of St. John's won three straight crowns from 1982-84.
In addition to Scodro's strong play, two other Irish golfers - Chris Walker and Paul McNamara III - also placed in the top five, with Niall Platt and Tom Usher placing within the top 35 of the 60-member field. Walker and McNamara both finished their tournaments under-par at four under (212) and three under (213), respectively.
Notre Dame ended the tournament with a 54-hole total of 852 (-12) for a 16-shot victory over second-place Louisville (868, +4). Villanova rounded out the top three at 870 (+6). The 16-shot margin of victory represented the largest margin since Virginia Tech won by 17 shots back in 2002 at the Warren Golf Course. It also marked the first year in the 17 years of playing in the BIG EAST Championship that the Irish have posted under-par rounds in each of their three rounds.
Historic Senior Year For Max Scodro
In addition to earning his second consecutive medalist honors at the BIG EAST Championship - the first time that feat has been accomplished by a Notre Dame golfer - Max Scodro also posted several other high-water marks in program history during his final campaign in the Blue and Gold.
The Chicago, Ill., product led the Irish at eight of the 10 stroke-play events the team competed in this season, including capturing a top-10 finish at six of those tournaments. Aided by four top-five finished and 13 rounds of under-par golf on the year, Scodro also has posted the lowest single season stroke average (71.45) in program history while bolstering his program-leading career stroke average, which now stands at 73.34.
Following the BIG EAST Championship and in addition to earning the conference player-of-the-year award for the second straight year, Scodro also became the first Notre Dame golfer to earn four citations on the all-BIG EAST Conference team.
Getting Hot At The Right Time
Heading into NCAA Regional play, Notre Dame has found its swing at exactly the right time. After competing in three consecutive tournaments that saw the Irish finish outside the top five, the squad has concluded the year with back-to-back tournament victories after winning the five-team Battle at the Warren before opening the postseason with a win at the 12-team BIG EAST Championship.
Additionally, an Irish golfer has claimed medalist honors at both events as senior Tom Usher took home the Battle at the Warren with a 140 (-2) prior to Max Scodro winning the BIG EAST with a three-day score of 210 (-6).
Fear The Beard
Following a tie for 13th finish at the 15-team All-American Intercollegiate, head coach Jim Kubinski figured it was time to change things up. Heading into the regular season finale Battle at the Warren and BIG EAST Championship, Kubinski began to grow a playoff beard while informing his team that as long as the team kept its season alive the beard would continue to stay. Since then, the Irish have won each of their last two tournaments heading into the 2012 NCAA Central Regional.
The Notre Dame lineup has enjoyed tremendous consistency over the past two seasons. The five-man rotation of Max Scodro, Chris Walker, Paul McNamara, Niall Platt and Tom Usher has now played together for 18 of the 23 tournaments that the Irish have competed in over the last two seasons. Additionally, Scodro and Walker have both played in over 100 career tournament rounds for Notre Dame while playing as part of the starting lineup for parts of all four seasons.