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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
The Observer

Irish win Windon Memorial Classic for 2nd straight tournament championship

The Notre Dame men’s golf team clinched their second win of the season at the Windon Memorial Classic, hosted by Northwestern at Conway Farms Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday. Coming off of a successful competition at the Badger Invitational, this Irish squad becomes the second in program history to win back-to-back tournaments with 10 or more teams.

Irish head coach John Handrigan was eager to share his thoughts on the tournament and the team who won it.

“Obviously it was a great week,” he said. “We performed extremely well. It was a tough field; it was a little bit stronger than last week. I think that in college golf, winning once is extremely difficult with so many teams that participate in a tournament, but to win a second time in one year and have it back-to-back is pretty impressive. I am very proud of the team and how they performed.”

Handrigan went on to discuss the team’s mentality going into the tournament.

“We talked a lot this week as a team about what we’re going to do after we win a tournament,” he said. “Obviously we won last week, so our talk was, ‘What’s next?’ They were very motivated and eager to do more than just be content and complacent on a win. So it’s nice that they held up to that challenge, especially when other teams were making a run.”

Handrigan emphasized the tough competition the team faced while at the tournament.

“Ole Miss has a really good team this year, and on the back nine today they were making a charge with a lot of birdies,” he said Tuesday. “The course we were playing was quite a bit more difficult today.”

Ole Miss went on the finish second in the tournament. They trailed the Irish by five strokes at the end, finishing with a score of 847.

“[The competition] just didn’t faze our players,” he said. “They’ve been in that situation quite a bit this past year and this summer. They know what it takes to win, and they didn’t let up their game. They just stuck to the game plan and played great down the stretch.”

Handrigan spoke of the play by all five Irish players: junior Davis Chatfield, senior Hunter Ostrom, freshman Palmer Jackson, senior Davis Lamb and sophomore Andrew O’Leary.

“It was a team effort and we wouldn’t have won without all five guys playing great golf at certain times,” he said.

He praised the performance of Ostrom in particular, over both recent tournaments.

"This is the second week in a row that [Ostrom] lost the individual championship by one shot,” Handrigan said. “And to have that quality of play two weeks in a row is great. He’s been playing some exceptional golf, and he’s already won one college event in his career. If he continues to play like he is right now, I can see him winning a game very soon.”

Jackson was also a notable performer this competition, as mentioned by Handrigan. Losing by only two shots, Jackson finished the tournament in fourth.

“For a freshman to do that on a pretty elite field was a big boost for our program,” Handrigan said.

With a freshman and a senior both performing at the highest level, this Notre Dame team has shown considerable depth.

“Definitely the depth of our team is the best it has ever been,” Handrigan said.

Although only five players make it out to each tournament, Handrigan said he is proud about all nine of his athletes playing at such a high level so early in the season.

“The best part about those nine players is that they are pushing each other,” he said. “They’re motivating each other to continue to play exceptional golf every week.”

Handrigan said the team has an eager attitude heading into the next tournament.

“We are looking to get another win,” he said. “These guys are hungry. Like I said earlier, they’re not content with just a couple wins. They want to win every single week and that’s the sign of a very strong team.”

Next week the team will travel to Toledo, Ohio, to compete in the Inverness Intercollegiate that Monday and Tuesday. The field is expected to be the toughest of the season so far, and the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship was hosted at the course this summer.