Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

Irish hope to play smart and score well in Georgia

The Irish will continue their spring season March 17 at the 38th annual Georgia Southern Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Georgia.

Coming off a 10th-place finish at the National Invitation Tournament in Tucson, Notre Dame has been practicing intently for the Invitational. Irish head coach Jim Kubinski said the emphasis has been on improving precision with short irons during practice recently.

“Our practice focus right now is primarily on distance control, particularly with our shorter irons, as well as the typical high volume reps we perform in the various short game areas,” Kubinski said.

The upcoming event boasts a talented 14-team field, headlined by Vanderbilt, which hopes to earn a repeat victory at Forest Heights Country Club. The Commodores won the event in 2016, shooting 41-under-par, which was 10 strokes better than second-place finisher Wake Forest.

Kubinski discussed that his players will need to give themselves early and consistent birdie attempts in order to find success next week.

“The Schenkel typically sees low scoring, so we'll need to be ready, from the outset, to give ourselves lots of smart looks at birdie,” Kubinski said. “Often collegiate players think low scoring is about making lots of birdies, but really the idea is to give yourself lots of opportunities to putt for birdie, while reducing the overly aggressive shot selection that can lead to bogey or worse. As a football analogy, we need to churn out the total offense numbers while keeping turnovers to a minimum. That's what we need this week.”

Notre Dame will assume this more conservative style of play in the hopes of bouncing back from a 1oth-place finish in its last showing.

“We've had only two opportunities so far this spring, a win at the match play and the 10th in Tucson, which sees us at nine-and-nine to start out,” Kubinski said. “We need to keep growing each week, moving toward an NCAA berth. Tucson saw us three holes away from finishing maybe 10-and-five, only to lose a few shots coming in. We need to finish out 54 holes. That's something young teams learn how to do and I'm confident this group will do so.”

The Irish will have the chance to work on their endurance when the Georgia Southern Schenkel Invitational gets underway on March 17. The Invitational will take place over the course of three days.