Sept. 26, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame men's golf team will play host to the fifth-annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic (FIGGC) this coming Monday and Tuesday, with action getting underway at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start. The two-day, 54-hole tournament is taking place at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course, which measures to a distance of 7,023 yards while playing to a par 70.
The 2010 edition of the FIGGC is the fifth year of the event hosted by the Irish at the Warren Golf Course. Coming off of a season-opening second-place finish at Kiawah Island, S.C. at the College of Charleston Invitational, the Irish look to defend their FIGGC title against a very competitive field, as five teams teeing it up on Monday are ranked in the top-50 (according to 9.22.10 Golfstat rankings) - Iowa (15), San Francisco (32), Notre Dame (41), College of Charleston (46) and Missouri (50).
"It's always fun to defend, if for no other reason than it means you enjoyed a win in the past," stated seventh-year head coach Jim Kubinski. "It can provide a great deal of confidence to our team going forward in our year, especially considering three of our current starters were on our winning squad in 2009. Our current student-athletes want to make their own statement. They're looking forward to the competition this week."
All 11 players on the Irish roster are expected to take part in the 2010 FIGGC, with five golfers competing as Notre Dame's team entrants, and the remaining six golfers playing the tournament as individuals (not counting towards the team score).
Notre Dame's team lineup is comprised of senior Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.), the junior trio of Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), Tom Usher (Bradford, England) and Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas), and freshman Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who opened up his Irish career with a runner-up result at the College of Charleston Invite (217, +1).
"Our starting lineup has four players who hit the ball a long distance, which should make us tough to beat on a long course such as Warren (Golf Course)," said Kubinski. "Our fifth player's game is built on the accuracy he possesses throughout his bag and his ability with the flatstick. If we maintain our poise, play the golf course without worrying about our bad shots and make a few putts, we should have a great chance to repeat as champions come Tuesday."
THE COMPETITION: The Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic will be made up of a 14-team field, including (Golfstat rankings from 9.22.10 in parentheses): Cincinnati (186), College Of Charleston (46), Eastern Michigan (131), Georgetown (164), Gonzaga (162), Houston, Iowa (15), Lamar (74), Miami (Ohio) (58), Missouri (50), Notre Dame (41), San Francisco (32), Seton Hall (183), UT-Arlington (77).
Kubinski on the 2009 Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic Field...
"We're thrilled to be hosting such a diverse field for the Classic. With ten different conferences represented, from just about every corner of our country, this week's field should present a good challenge and give us an idea of where we stand nationally. In addition, the exceptional field assembled here gives each player a special and unique golf experience.
THE FIGHTING IRISH GRIDIRON CLASSIC: The 2010 edition of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic will mark the fifth consecutive year Notre Dame has hosted the tournament. In the inaugural tournament during the 2006-07 season, the Irish came up just short of bringing home the initial championship by placing second. Individually, former Irish golfers Cole Isban (2006-07) and Doug Fortner (2007-08) hold the best to-par finish for Notre Dame as each carded a 210 (E) over the 54 holes. Josh Sandman (2009-10) became the first Irish medalist at the FIGGC, capturing the title with a 212 (+2) over the two days.
Lamar won the first-ever Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic title in 2006 by carding a three-round total of 860 (+20), finishing 29 strokes clear of the Irish, who posted a 889 (+49). The Cardinals' Justin Harding earned medalist honors at 213 (+3), one shot better than Isban and Vanderbilt's Luke List (214, +4).
In 2007, Michigan State took the tournament championship at seven-over par 847, easing past Arkansas and defending champion Lamar by 14 strokes. MSU's Ryan Brehm was the '07 tournament medalist at 205 (-5), five shots in front of Fortner and Virginia's Greg Carlin (210, E).
In the 2008 version of the event, Arkansas and Michigan State were tied for the lead heading into the final round. In the end, Arkansas prevailed with an 863 (+23), while UC Davis finished in second with an 867 (+27). Michigan State's Randy Hutchison earned medalist honors with a 210 (E). Andrew Landry of Arkansas finished in second with a 211 (+1) and he was followed by his teammate Jamie Marshall in third, who turned in a 212 (+2).
Last year, the Irish shot out of the gate to lead the field by 12 strokes entering the final 18 holes of the event. After all the final-round scorecards were tallied, the Notre Dame men captured their first FIGGC title by four shots over Ohio State after shooting a three-round total 870 (+30). In addition to helping bring home the team title for the blue and gold, Josh Sandman brought home his first medalist honors as a collegian after carding a four-over par 74 on his final 18 holes, securing a two-stroke victory over Kevin Hesbois of Lamar, David Lingmerth of Arkansas and Dan Charen of Ohio State.
Kubinski on the people who make the 2010 Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic possible...
"I can't say enough about the job our Warren Golf Course Superintendent Matt Cielan and his staff do, year in and year out. Matt is one of the best in the business at preparing golf courses for major events. With the efforts of Matt and his crew, our golf course is in great shape considering the challenging weather we have endured this summer that has wreaked havoc on most courses east of the Mississippi River. There are just too many people to thank who put in their time to ensure the tournament goes off without a problem."
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. 27-28) 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 start 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 from #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 Gridiron 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.