After a fun and competitive weekend at the Alumni Matches in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Irish will open their intercollegiate spring season in Greensboro, Ga., Monday on the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation against Yale University. The No. 26 Irish head south into the matchup with the unranked Bulldogs with high expectations.
"Yale should be a good test for us," Irish coach Jim Kubinski said. "We've recruited against them a fair amount the last few years, and with us being ranked, they'll be extra motivated to add something to their season. It will be good to get our feet on the ground in Georgia."
Though the match is early in the season and not in conference play, it will be important for another reason. Notre Dame squad stays in Georgia next week for the Schenkel E-Z-GO Invitational, which begins March19 at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. The 15-team meet will give the Irish an opportunity to compete against some of the top out-of-conference teams in the country.
"I would consider Schenkel to be in the top five top best collegiate tournaments this year," Kubinski said. "It will feature three top ten teams in LSU, Auburn and Florida. It's a great field."
The Irish are scrambling to get chances to get on the course in the hopes of competing against teams from the SEC and ACC, who have been practicing outside all year.
Even with the limited practice, Kubinksi said he felt the Irish
are a team to look out for. The Irish top five of junior Tom Usher, sophomore Paul McNamara, junior Max Scodro, freshman Niall Platt and junior Chris Walker will have to put in legwork for the Irish to excel against the best teams in the country.
"This tournament will be a great litmus test for where our season is at this point," Kubinski said. "This is the real deal."
Notre Dame has played only one other tournament this spring, going 2-1 at TPC Match Play in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 11-12, but the schedule ramps up on Monday. The Irish will be in action every weekend through the middle of April.
The Notre Dame vs. Yale Challenge Cup begins March 14 in Statesboro, Ga.