Sept. 23, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame men's golf team returns to action Monday and Tuesday as it plays host to the sixth annual Fighting Irish Golf Classic at the Warren Golf Course. The tournament is set to tee of Monday at 9 a.m. (ET) with a shotgun start with the second round immediately following and the final round beginning Tuesday at 8:15 a.m. (ET) with a split tee start.
"Hosting an event at home is always something we look forward to," said Irish head coach Jim Kubinski. "To be able to welcome great teams from all over the country and compete on our home course is special for players and coaches. We typically get incredible support from our local volunteers and everyone on staff at the Warren. It's just a great three days for our team."
This year's field features 12 teams from across the nation, including eight that appeared in last season's tournament. Notre Dame is joined by 2010 entrants Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Houston, Lamar, Miami (OH), Missouri, San Francisco, and Texas-Arlington as well as Minnesota, St. Mary's (CA) and Villanova who did not appear in last year's event.
The Warren Golf Course, designed by the Austin, Texas-based architectural firm of Coore and Crenshaw, headed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran Ben Crenshaw, will play as a 7,023-yard, par-70 layout.
The event also gives the Irish a chance to get all 12 members of the roster a chance to get some tournament experience in during the fall season. The reliable Irish rotation of senior Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) and Tom Usher (Baildon, England) along with junior Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) and sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will take to the course for the third consecutive tournament. Last time out, the quintet brought home a share of eighth at the Olympia Fields Invitational, taking on an elite field and defeating three teams (Duke, Augusta State, Ohio State) from last season's NCAA Final Four.
"We expect all five starters to be in contention within each round, keeping themselves in play for a counting round," remarked Kubinski. "We didn't have that enough in our first two events but with the work the guys have put in and being at home, I think they'll rally around each other and give us a great effort. There's certainly plenty of experience in our lineup. We're looking forward to kicking it off on Monday."
Along with the five-man rotation, the Irish also will send out junior Edward Hjerpe (Barrington, R.I.), sophomores Andrew Carreon (San Antonio, Texas) and Andrew Lane (Fairport, N.Y.), and freshmen Patrick Grahek (Alpharetta, Ga.), Peyton Vitter (New Orleans, La.) and Tyler Wingo (Fairfax, Va.) as individual entrants.
"To a man, our players have worked very hard," stated Kubinski. "I love the fact that each and every one has the opportunity to compete this weekend. It's what you practice for and, really, a big reason why we do host an event. I think the goal is always to help players improve so having a tournament to analyze afterward is very important. We can look at what each player did well and also identify areas to improve. It allows us to get better through the roster. I know each of the guys playing as an individual wants to start to make a push for a lineup spot. That competition from within also helps to improve us as a team."
In addition to playing host to a great golf tournament, this year's event also hopes to spread the word on a very violent, yet extremely curable disease: colon cancer. The tournament will honor Coach Kubinski's successful treatment and his late father, James, who lost his battle with the illness in 2005.
"I think the most important thing here is awareness," cited Kubinski. "My dad never missed a day of work in his life. He led as healthy a life as anyone could hope for up until the time of his diagnosis, at 57 years old. He never thought he needed to get checked. To me, that's the worst part of it all. It's a very treatable cancer if found early but a silent killer without early screening.
"Knowing my dad's history, I talked to my doctor and he suggested I move up the usual first screening at 50 years of age to 40 for me," continued Kubinski. "Although they found something potentially dangerous, I was very, very fortunate. It's an example of how awareness and being able to discuss it with my doctor played a critical role. I'm just hoping we can get the word out in the same way. If we reach just one person and save a life, it has made this campaign a huge success."
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, accounting for about 20 percent of all cancer deaths. This year alone, more than 131,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer, and 56,000 will die from it.
Colon cancer is also one of the most curable types of cancer if it is diagnosed early. When detected at its earliest stages, chances for a cure are as high as 90 percent. There are several excellent screening and diagnostic methods to detect colon cancer early, before it has spread to vital organs. There are also a variety of simple steps you can take to help prevent it. Learning about the risk factors, knowing the signs and symptoms, and having regular screenings for colon cancer are your best defenses against this all-too-common cancer.
As a way to pay tribute to those that have lost battles with colon cancer and for those currently battling or recovering from the affliction, all teams in this year's field will wear a blue ribbon. Additionally, the Fighting Irish will be dressed in blue shirts for the first day of competition and signs will be placed around the Warren Golf Course promoting colon-cancer awareness.
THE COMPETITION: The Fighting Irish Golf Classic will be made up of a 12-team field, including: Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Houston, Lamar, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Missouri, Notre Dame, San Francisco, St. Mary's (CA), Texas-Arlington and Villanova.
LAST YEAR AT THE FIGGC: Iowa held on to bring home the team title with a 54-hole score of 853 (+13), holding off the second place Irish. Despite finishing third as a team, San Francisco had co-medalists in the event as Ji Hwan Park and Taylor Travis share the top of the leaderboard with identical 208 (-2) scores.
FORMAT: Each team's lineup will be comprised of five golfers with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score. The tournament will span two days (Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 26-27) with the first 36 holes being played on Monday and the final 18 holes coming on Tuesday. The opening round on Monday will consist of a shotgun at 9 a.m. with continuous play for round two following the conclusion of round one. The final round will be made up of split-tee starts on #1/#10 beginning at 8:15 a.m. with groupings based on team's 36-hole standings.
RESULTS: Live hole-by-hole scoring of the Fighting Irish Golf Classic will be available through Golfstat. To access the site go to http://www.golfstatresults.com. Daily recaps and standings will be posted on und.com.