Notre Dame captures Big East title
Scodro earns low medalist honors, leads Irish to championship
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Notre Dame sealed the deal at the 2011 Big East Championship on Tuesday at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club. The Irish fired a final round 293 (+9) to finish at 24 over par on the tournament (876).
The Irish entered the day seven shots up on Louisville and by the time the 54th hole was played, the margin finished at six, as the Cardinals concluded at 882 (+30). Villanova finished in third with an 889 (+37), while Georgetown and South Florida tied for fourth at 895 (+43).
The title for the Irish marks the seventh time in program history that they have won the Big East Championship, and the first time since winning in 2005-06. It also marks the third title under the direction of head coach Jim Kubinski, who took over in the spring of 2005, en route to winning the league crown that year.
Individually, junior Max Scodro also added his name to the Irish record book, becoming the first Irish medalist at the Big East Tournament since Mark Baldwin did so in a rain-shortened tournament in '04-05 (only 18 holes were played, with Baldwin carding a 75). Scodro is the first Irish medalist ever to claim the title in the 54-hole format. Both Bill Moore and Todd Vernon earned medalist honors in '95-96 and '97-98, respectively, in a 36-hole format.
Scodro's round got off to a torrid start, as he played the front nine bogey free with four birdies to finish with a front side 32 (-4). On the back nine, Scodro recorded five pars, three bogeys and a birdie on hole number 15 to finish his final day with a two under par, 69. For the tournament, Scodro finished at one under par (212) for a two shot victory over Louisville's Karsten Clements (214, +1).
After getting off to a slow start in his final round that saw him four over par after eight holes, freshman Niall Platt played the final ten holes even par and notched his lone birdie of the day on the par-5, 14th hole. He concluded the day at four over par (75) and finished tied for sixth overall at 218 (+5).
Sophomore Paul McNamara III continued to play a consistent brand of golf, recording 12 more pars to go along with two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on the 13th hole to finish his day three over par (74). He finished tied for 10th in the field with a three-day total of 222 (+9).
Junior Chris Walker rebounded nicely in his final round of play, despite posting an identical score on Monday of 75 (+4). Walker enjoyed much steadier ball striking in his final round, finishing with 13 pars, one birdie, three bogeys and one double bogey on the final hole of the tournament. He finished in a tie for 27th place with a 54-hole score of 226 (+13).
Senior Connor Alan-Lee, in his second appearance at the Big East Championship, rounded out the Irish team, finishing in a tie for 34th with a 229 (+16). Alan-Lee struggled a bit in his final round, carding an 80 (+9). The senior finished the day with nine pars, six bogeys, two double bogeys and a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole. The tie for 34th marks his best Big East finish, after tying for 48th at the '09 tournament.
With the Big East title in hand, the Irish earn an automatic bid into NCAA Tournament regional play. It will mark the first time since the '05-06 season that the Irish have reached the NCAA tournament.