March 13, 2016
By Chris Masters
MESA, Ariz. — With a finishing kick reminiscent of Notre Dame’s four-time national champion distance runner Molly Seidel, the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish women’s golf team turned in a closing burst on Sunday at the Clover Cup that showed just how far the program has come in a relatively short time.
For the second consecutive day, Notre Dame turned in one of the lowest rounds in the 17-team field, charging up to a fourth-place finish at 10-over par 874 (299-290-285) at the Longbow Golf Club (par 72/6,184 yards) in the Notre Dame’s fifth annual spring tournament that is co-sponsored by Longbow and Visit Mesa. It was the fifth top-five finish in seven tournaments for the Fighting Irish this season.
SMU ended up winning the team title at 858 (-6), with TCU placing second (866/+2) and Oklahoma (873/+9) edging out Notre Dame by a single shot for third place.
The Fighting Irish spent the final two rounds battling hard to erase the effects of a difficult first round and responded with the mental toughness and fortitude that has made this year’s squad unlike any other in the program’s 28-year history. Notre Dame’s 874 team score was the 10th-lowest mark in the school’s record book (ninth-lowest on a par-72 course), while its closing 285 also matched the 10th-lowest single-round score in Fighting Irish annals, as well as the seventh time in 20 rounds this season Notre Dame shot under-par as a team.
“I’ve always believed that it’s not how you start, but how you finish,” Fighting Irish head coach Susan Holt said. “After today’s round, I told the team how proud I was of them to battle back and turn in a solid showing. We had four different players shoot under-par this weekend, which really speaks to our depth and ability to compete across our lineup. That’s the sign of a team that can go places this year and contend as we get closer to the postseason.
“We’re incredibly appreciative of all the hard-working people at the Longbow Golf Club, particularly (general manager) Bob McNichols, all of whom helped us put on another successful Clover Cup,” Holt added. “We also are so fortunate to have the support of Visit Mesa and a whole host of volunteers from the Mesa community and the greater Phoenix area who give of their time to make this a memorable event each year.”
Senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) picked up her fourth top-10 finish of the season, ending up in ninth place among the 99 competing golfers in the field with an even-par 216 (74-72-70) on the strength of a final round that featured five birdies. Campbell also now has placed in the top 20 six times this year and in 11 of her last 13 tournaments, stretching back to the spring of 2015.
TCU’s Brooke Graebe earned medalist honors at 210 (-6), one shot ahead of Oklahoma’s Rylee Pedigo (211/-5).
Freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) continues to be one of the most consistent players in the Notre Dame lineup, tying for 12th place at the Clover Cup (her fifth top-20 outing in seven tournaments this year) with a career-low score of two-over par 218 (77-71-70). It marked the fourth consecutive tournament that Albrecht carded a career-low 54-hole score, thanks in part to a steady final round that included 16 pars. She also remains a reliable scorer for the Fighting Irish, having seen all 14 of her starting rounds this season count to the team score.
Albrecht’s classmate, Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy), turned in her own sparkling performance at the Clover Cup, closing with a sharp 69 to rise into a 17th-place tie at four-over par 220 (77-74-69). Hamilton registered the fourth top-20 finish of her rookie campaign, punctuating that final-round total with birdies on her last two holes.
Junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) and freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) started the day tied and that’s how they finished, sharing 32nd place at 10-over par 226. Ferreira posted rounds of 77-73-76, while DiLisio (who battled a back injury much of the weekend) shot 71-79-76.
Notre Dame’s three individual competitors had their own success at the Clover Cup. Sophomore Alison Snakard (Collegeville, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) made the most of her season debut and turned in perhaps the best outing of her young career, tying for 79th place with a career-low score of 26-over par 242 (80-81-81). Snakard not only logged personal-best scores in all three rounds, but her tournament finish was just off her career-best outing, a tie for 75th place at the 2014 Mary Fossum Invitational.
Sophomore Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) saved her best round for Sunday’s finish, rising to 86th place at 29-over par 245 (84-83-78).
Meanwhile, junior Janie Fineis (East Lansing, Mich./Lansing Catholic) had a solid season debut, tying for 91st place with a career-low score of 35-over par 251 (79-86-86), one shot better than her previous personal best mark set two years ago at the Clover Cup.
Notre Dame will have a fairly quick turnaround, as the Fighting Irish return to action March 20-22, traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the LSU Tiger Classic. Live scoring will be available through the Golfstat web site (golfstat.com), with in-progress updates also provided through the Fighting Irish women’s golf Twitter feed (@NDwomensGolf).
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s golf program, visit the women’s golf page of the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (UND.com/ndwomensgolf), sign up to follow the Notre Dame women’s golf Twitter feed (@NDwomensGolf) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
March 11-13, 2016
Longbow Golf Club (par 72/6,184 yards)
FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. SMU 858 (285-292-281); 2. TCU 866 (284-292-290); 3. Oklahoma 873 (290-291-292); 4. NOTRE DAME 874 (299-290-285); 5. FIU 878 (296-297-285); 6. UNCW 883 (291-293-299); 7. South Florida 889 (288-303-298); 8. Nebraska 909 (301-309-299); 9. Penn State 910 (301-305-304); 10. Central Arkansas 915 (308-300-307); 11. Tulsa 921 (299-309-313); 12. Cincinnati 924 (303-321-300); 13. Ole Miss 925 (305-306-314); 14. Columbia 943 (317-315-311); 15. IUPUI 944 (319-322-303); 16. UNCG 955 (324-307-324); 17. Central Michigan 968 (332-313-323).
TOP 11 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 99): 1. Brooke Graebe (TCU) 210 (67-72-71); 2. Rylee Pedigo (OU) 211 (71-70-70); 3. (tie) Nicole Autrique (USF) 212 (67-72-73) and Annette Lyche (UNCW) 212 (71-67-74); 5. (tie) Jenny Haglund (SMU) 213 (73-72-68) and Meghan MacLaren (USF) 213 (70-71-72); 7. Hannah Wood (OU) 214 (68-74-72); 8. Annika Clark (TCU) 215 (71-72-72); 9. Talia Campbell (ND) 216 (74-72-70); 10. (tie) Carla Jane (FIU) 217 (71-74-72) and Brigitte Dunne (SMU) 217 (73-72-72); 12. (tie) Emma Albrecht (ND) 218 (77-71-70); 17. (tie) Maddie Rose Hamilton (ND) 220 (77-74-69); 32. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 226 (77-73-76) and Isabella DiLisio (ND) 226 (71-79-76); 79. (tie) Alison Snakard (ND)* 242 (80-81-81); 86. Kari Bellville (ND)* 245 (84-83-78); 91. (tie) Janie Fineis (ND)* 251 (79-86-86).
* - competing as individual participant
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s golf and women’s basketball programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).