Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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58 NOV. 2, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE I n a classic case of which one doesn't belong here, the Notre Dame men's golf team found itself in an unlikely and historic place during its recently completed fall season — ranked well inside the top 10. Mixed into the rankings with warm- weather power schools such as Geor- gia Tech, Texas Tech and SMU, and in the company of golf royalty with Stan- ford, Oklahoma and Arizona State, Notre Dame's four wins in its five fall events lifted the Irish to No. 7 in the country heading into winter break. Head coach John Handrigan prefers to pass the credit onto his players. But the work the third-year skipper has done to lift a forever solid but never spectacular program to elite status needs to be celebrated, especially given Notre Dame's recruiting challenges be- cause of its geographical location. "We've just set new and higher standards for our work ethic and competing at the highest level, and it's been paying off," Handrigan said. This Irish team is already the first in program history to win four titles in an entire school year — the Badger Invitational, the Windon Memorial Classic, the Fighting Irish Invitational and the Quail Valley Collegiate. The Irish also became the first Divi- sion I team to win four tournaments in the 2019-20 season. "We're not just playing anymore for a top-three or a top-five finish," said junior Davis Chatfield, who recorded one top-five and two top-10 finishes. "We want to win every tournament, and that has certainly shown." With two top-five and three top-10 finishes, senior Hunter Ostrom was the cornerstone to the Irish success. He said that winning the first tournament of the season was key. "Winning just gives you an extreme amount of confidence to be able to go into your next event and play and compete well again," he said. "I think that has been a big part of our success." Handrigan explained that he began to see the climate change sprout late last spring and watched it grow in the summer when his guys played on their own. Ostrom won four individ- ual championships in the summer and joined Chatfield and freshman Palmer Jackson as the three Irish to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship. Jackson was the hero at the Quail Valley Collegiate Oct. 20-21, winning his first tournament title with an event record 16-under-par — which was also a Notre Dame 54-hole record. It was Jackson's second top-five and third top-10 finish during the fall season. Jackson, Ostrom and Chatfield all carry stroke averages of 71.0 or lower, and five different Irish players recorded top-five finishes this fall. "It's great to have so much trust in your teammates," Ostrom said. "Golf is hard enough when you're just thinking about yourself. So when you have to worry about four other guys out on the course, trying to make sure they're doing well, it's too much." ✦ CROSS COUNTRY Notre Dame put forth a couple strong efforts in the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational Oct. 18 at Madison, Wis. The 16th-ranked Irish women placed 12th in the 36-team field, which featured 20 ranked teams in a preview of the NCAA Championships. They finished ahead of eight other top-30 oppo- nents and were the second-highest finishing team among participating ACC schools. The No. 13 Irish men were the top ACC team in the field, finishing 15th ahead of conference rivals No. 10 North Carolina State, No. 12 Syracuse and No. 16 Virginia, as well as three other ranked teams. Next up for both squads are the ACC Championships Nov. 1 in Blacksburg, Va. WOMEN'S GOLF The Fighting Irish closed out their fall schedule with a 10th-place showing at the Texas State Jim West Challenge Oct. 20-21 in San Marcos, Texas. Notre Dame will return to action Feb. 23-24 at the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz. HOCKEY (2-0-0 OVERALL, 0-0-0 BIG TEN) Notre Dame swept its season-opening series at home, defeating Air Force 4-3 Oct. 11 and 6-1 Oct. 12. The Irish host Lake Superior State Oct. 25-26 and then open Big Ten play at Minnesota Nov. 1-2. MEN'S SOCCER (7-6-1 OVERALL, 1-5-0 ACC) The Fighting Irish broke into the win column in ACC play with a 1-0 home win versus No. 21 Duke Oct. 11, but then fell 2-1 at Virginia Tech Oct. 18 and lost 1-0 to Michigan at home Oct. 22. Notre Dame closes out the regular season with a game at Wake Forest Oct. 26 and a home match versus Pittsburgh Nov. 1. WOMEN'S SOCCER (9-5-1 OVERALL, 3-3-1 ACC) Notre Dame played Louisville to a 0-0 draw Oct. 13, dropped a 3-0 decision against No. 1 Virginia Oct. 18 and then battled No. 9 Duke to a 1-1 tie Oct. 24 in Durham, N.C. The Fighting Irish finish the regular season with a road match at North Carolina State Oct. 27 and a home contest versus Wake Forest Oct. 31. VOLLEYBALL (14-4 OVERALL, 7-1 ACC) The Fighting Irish notched 3-1 victories at Wake Forest Oct. 11 and at Duke Oct. 13 to match the 2016 team for the best start in ACC play at 6-0, before falling 3-2 at home to Louisville Oct. 16. The Irish returned to the win column with a 3-1 triumph at Virginia Tech Oct. 18. Next up for Notre Dame are home contests against Pittsburgh Oct. 25 and Virginia Oct. 27. — Steve Downey Irish Roundup Men's Golf Mapping Unfamiliar Territory Senior Hunter Ostrom anchored the Fighting Irish with two top-five and three top-10 finishes during the fall season, helping them win four tournaments and earn a No. 7 national ranking. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH MEDIA

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