Sept. 22, 2013
Eighth Annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, hosted by the University of Notre Dame, Sept. 23-24, Warren Golf Course, Notre Dame, Ind.
The Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind., was recently ranked in the top-30 of the best college golf courses in the country according to Golfweek and Links Magazine. After traditionally playing as a par 70 from the championship tees, the 7,023-yard layout will play as a par 71 for the second straight year in the eight-year history of the FIGGC.
Michigan State will become the only team in tournament history to attempt to defend its FIGGC crown for the second time when the Spartans take the course on Monday. Michigan State won the second-ever playing of the event in 2007, and became the first two-time tournament winner in 2012. Former Michigan State player Ryan Brehm turned in the lowest 18-hole score in tournament history in 2007, carding a six-under par 64 during the second round. Brehm’s three-round total of 205 (-5) is also the best 54-hole total in the first seven FIGGC events.
-ON THE TEE
The 54-hole stroke play tournament begins with a shotgun start Monday at 9 a.m. (ET). Players will complete two continuous 18-hole rounds on day one before finishing with a final 18 holes on Tuesday. Tee times for the final round will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m.
-VARIETY OF STATES REPRESENTED IN THE FIELD
A total of 13 teams will compete at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, with seven teams fielding individual entrants as well. Joining Notre Dame in the tournament is the College of Charleston, Davidson, Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Georgia Southern, Houston, Michigan State, Southern Mississippi, Texas-Arlington, West Florida, Xavier and Yale.
-STARTING FOR THE IRISH...
The Notre Dame starting five are senior Niall Platt, freshman Liam Cox, freshman Matt Rushton, freshman Blake Barens and junior Tyler Wingo.
Results will be posted on the UND Athletic Department Web site (www.UND.com) at the conclusion of each round. Live results will be available through golfstatresults.com.
Notre Dame will travel to the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate Oct. 14-15 at the Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
Tyler Wingo Looks To Use Championship Experience This Season
By Staci Gasser
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – While the three senior captains of the University of Notre Dame’s men’s golf team plan to be among the individual scoring leaders, another player, junior Tyler Wingo, has championship experience that will make him tough competition on the course this season.
Wingo was one of two Irish players, along with now-senior Andrew Lane, to qualify for the 2013 United States Amateur Championship in July.
With his father as his caddie, Wingo’s two-day qualifying tournament got off to a rocky start on day one, as the Fairfax, Va. native carded a four-over par 76 that left him five shots off the pace.
However in the final round on day two, Wingo posted a total of seven birdies and one eagle, playing the four par-five holes in an impressive five-under par and forcing a playoff round. A playoff birdie heads-up against Bennett Buch clinched Wingo’s first career U.S. Amateur berth.
The U.S. Amateur Championship, the oldest golf championship in this country, was played for the 113th time in ’13. Wingo played his best in the event, but did not make it as far as he had hoped when he began play.
In a tournament that has played host to some of the greatest names in golf history — such future golfing greats as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods —Wingo played well in his first round and had a chance to make match play, before struggling in the final round. Despite falling short, he was not disappointed he didn’t qualify for the top 64.
“It was a next level competition, the most competitive tournament I’ve ever played in because it was among the best amateurs in the world,” Wingo says. “I was just a little off, a lot of little technical errors. On the second day, there were a lot of blind tee shots. It was a whole new level of competition from what I’d ever experienced before, so it took me a while to settle down but once I did, I performed better.”
Wingo was, however, very happy with the experience.
“It always good to represent the University,” Wingo says. “I take a lot of pride representing Notre Dame. It gives me so many opportunities, so it’s an honor for me to shed its name on a national level.”
It also was a major learning experience for the Notre Dame junior.
“I played with some of the best players in country, so I saw my game against others,” Wingo says. “I saw that there were a lot of similarities with some minor differences, although those minor differences are big differences in the game of golf.”
Although his sophomore season in 2012-13 saw periods of inconsistency, Wingo was a key contributor all season long for Notre Dame. Starting in eight tournaments for Notre Dame during his second year with the program, Wingo ended the year with a stroke average of 75.29 and posted a 74.00 stroke average during the fall semester. Out of the 18 rounds played, 13 counted toward the team score.
Wingo believes that his experience at the U.S. Amateur made him more mature and more patient on the golf course, something he needed as his biggest obstacle on the course is not the technical aspects, but the mental aspects of staying calm and not worrying about getting too high or low.
“It gave me a whole new perspective of the type of preparation I need to do to get at that high level of competition,” Wingo says. “I have a full year under my belt last season and had a successful summer, so now I need to prepare for the upcoming fall tournaments and represent myself and the University in the best way I can.”
Another key to his successful game will be his strengths off the tee and in his iron game. Over the summer, he really honed in on those skills and got them a little more precise.
Wingo’s goal is to win a tournament individually on a personal level and be in the top 25 in every field he plays in this season.
While he did not see action in the team’s first competition, two weeks ago, Wingo will be in action for the first time this fall when Notre Dame plays host to the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic, Monday and Tuesday at the Warren Golf Course.
Notre Dame Head Coach Jim Kubinski
“Our home tournament is becoming a great tradition. It’s now our eigth annual and from its inception, with the help of the Isban family, our event has been very special for our players and coaches. Competing on our home course, which is always a tremendous test, with the Golden Dome in view on our skyline, gives our players great motivation. We always try to represent ND in the best light, a spoken goal of ours, but playing at home is just that much closer to heart.
"Our field always provides a great cross section of collegiate golf. We have several different conferences represented and cover from New England to Texas, with many states in between represented."
How the Warren Golf Course will test the field
"Our forecast looks great, sunny skies throughout. We’re looking at a somewhat rare East-Northeast wind tomorrow but it’s very light and we’ll adjust some tees to account for it. We’ll also move up a hole like #7 or #15, if the wind is favorable, offering a drivable par 4. All in all, we’ll play close to 7,000 yards at a par of 71. Our smaller greens will make breaking 70 a good challenge though. The Warren will be a very good and very fair test this week. I can’t say enough about the work John Foster and his professional staff and the outstanding work Matt Cielen and his golf course crew do. They’re very talented at what they do."
Team outlook for the event
"We’ll have our three freshmen in our lineup again this week, joining our All-America candidate Niall Platt and junior Tyler Wingo. I’m excited to again see the mature approach of all our starters this week. Our starting five, coincidentally, have the best five scoring averages on our Warren this year. They’ve enjoyed our home course. Tyler’s U.S. Amateur experience has been a great benefit to him. He looks very settled and very confident out there.
"I’m always thrilled to have all of our players in action, five in the lineup and seven competing as individuals. It gives everyone a chance to see where they stand from a competitive, tournament standpoint and, really, something to peak for in practice. I know, to a man, we’re very excited for the opportunity to play at home and in front of our Notre Dame community.”