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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame gets hot late, finishes sixth at Watersound Invitational

The Notre Dame men’s golf team kicked off their spring season at the Watersound Invitational, hosted by Florida State. The Irish competed five times this past fall, accumulating an average score of four-under-par and sixth place. They performed well this past weekend, largely matching expectations en route to a three-round score of 860 (-4) to tie for sixth.

They entered the event as the seventh-highest ranked team in the field, slotting in at 36th in the national rankings. They managed to match No. 16 Oklahoma State over the three-round event. Notre Dame's score of 860 was just two shots worse than the team’s output last year at the same event, when they finished third with a six-under 858.

Senior Palmer Jackson and freshman Nate Stevens led the way this year. Stevens birdied three of the final nine holes of his tournament to secure a three-under 69 in the final round. That improved his final score to a team-best four-under, which was good for a tie for 14th place overall. Jackson also finished strong, posting a 70 in his final round, sparked by three birdies in his final nine holes as well. He shot a three-under for the whole tournament. 

The veteran-rookie duo feasted on par threes all tournament, each compiling a 2.75 stroke average on the short holes. That sparked the Irish to an overall 2.97 average on the par threes, a mark that led all teams. Sophomore Owen Mullen was the only other Irish golfer to post an under-par round throughout the tournament, firing a one-under 71 during the second round. He finished just two-over for the tournament, tied for 34th. That was good for the third-best mark on the team. 

Notre Dame overall improved in each round but stayed relatively consistent. They posted a first-round 289, earning them a sixth-place finish after 18 holes. They improved slightly to 288 in the second round, but dropped to seventh place. Their final round score of 283 was enough to overtake unranked NC State in the late stages of the tournament. Oklahoma State shot 279 over the final 18 to climb from eighth into a sixth-place tie. Overall for the Irish, the performance was good enough to warrant a three-spot jump in the rankings and they now sit 33rd in the nation, the seventh-highest ranked ACC team. 

The team will be off for a couple weeks before competing twice during spring break. They next compete on March 13-14 at the Jonnie-O at Sea Island, traveling down to Georgia for the event. They’ll stay in Georgia and compete in the Schenkel Invitational, hosted by Georgia Southern, the following weekend.