April 1, 2016
By Chris Masters
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. — On a day usually reserved for pranks and laughter, the University of Notre Dame women’s golf team was all about the serious business of competition and the result was no April Fools’ Day joke.
The Fighting Irish turned in a superb first round on a blustery and damp Friday afternoon at the Bryan National Collegiate, moving into a tie for second place at 297 (+9) in the 15-team tournament co-hosted by Wake Forest and UNC Greensboro on the Bryan Park Champions Course (par 72/6,386 yards) in Browns Summit, North Carolina (just outside Greensboro).
Notre Dame is eight strokes back of tournament leader (and fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member) Virginia, while the Fighting Irish and South Carolina lead a chase pack that includes six teams separated by a mere two shots.
Friday’s result was particularly satisfying for Notre Dame, which was coming off an 11th-place finish at the LSU Tiger Classic less than two weeks earlier, playing in similar weather conditions to those that greeted the Fighting Irish on Tobacco Road. In fact, early morning thunderstorms caused a nearly three-hour delay and resulted in teams teeing off via a shotgun start, as opposed to the originally-scheduled split-tee start.
“I was really pleased with the way the team played today,” Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. “This is a demanding course and it requires your full attention for 18 holes. The wind was swirling today, which made it even more challenging. I told the team after the practice round yesterday that if those five players showed up for the three tournament rounds, they have a chance to win. We have two more rounds to go and are in a position to win, which is all you can ask for after day one.”
Freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) and junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) are tied for sixth place in the 84-golfer field after each player carded an opening-round 73 (+1) on Friday.
Both Notre Dame players followed similar paths to their final scores, making the turn at one-under par. They each then gave back a couple of strokes with bogeys on the back nine, but closed on a high note with a birdie on their final hole.
It was especially encouraging for DiLisio, who returned to the form that she has enjoyed for much of a stellar rookie season, putting to rest a handful of difficult rounds during the past two tournaments. In fact, Friday’s score was the 16th time in 24 rounds this season DiLisio has shot 74 or lower.
Meanwhile, Ferreira fired one of her best rounds of the season, only one stroke off her best mark of the spring (final round of the Westbrook Invitational on Feb. 22) and two shots back of her overall season-low score that she recorded on two separate occasions (most recently in the third round of the Landfall Tradition on Oct. 23 in Wilmington, North Carolina, during Notre Dame’s last visit to the Tar Heel State).
Senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) isn’t far behind her teammates, currently sharing 15th place after a first-round 74 (+2). Campbell came flying out of the gates, making the turn at two-under par. However, the early portion of the back nine snared the Fighting Irish veteran before she righted the ship with a birdie of her own on the final hole.
“It’s great to have Isabella back on track, and Jordan and Talia have continued their steady play,” Holt added.
Freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) is tied for 33rd place after her first-round 77 (+5). Hamilton’s scorecard was a mixture of shapes and colors on Friday, as she erased three early bogeys (black triangles) with two birdies (red circles), but also added a double bogey (black double triangle) and three other bogeys before coming home strong with a birdie and four straight pars, perhaps setting the table for future success this weekend.
Fellow rookie Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) rounds out the Notre Dame quintet in a tie for 44th place at six-over par 78. Albrecht began with some crisp early play, playing her first seven holes at even-par. Yet, the next nine holes didn’t go quite as well, as the Fighting Irish freshman carded seven bogeys in that span before a late birdie helped smooth some of the rough edges from Albrecht’s score (the first time in 18 rounds as a starter that her score didn’t count to the team total).
Notre Dame continues play at the Bryan National Collegiate with second-round action beginning at 10 a.m. (ET) Saturday. Live scoring will be available through the Golfstat web site (Golfstat.com).
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.
Bryan National Collegiate
April 1-3, 2016
Bryan Park – Champions Course (par 72/6,386 yards)
Browns Summit, North Carolina
TEAM SCORES (18-hole totals): 1. Virginia 289; 2. (tie) NOTRE DAME 297 and South Carolina 297; 4. (tie) Miami 298 and Wake Forest 298; 6. (tie) Florida State 299 and East Carolina 299; 8. North Carolina 302; 9. North Carolina State 304; 10. Kentucky 306; 11. Cal State Fullerton 307; 12. Michigan 314; 13. UCF 315; 14. Penn State 319; 15. UNC Greensboro 326.
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 94): 1. Nico Engstroem Skaug (ECU) 70; 2. (tie) Elizabeth Szokol (UVA) 71 and Matilda Castren (FSU) 71; 4. (tie) Lauren Coughlin (UVA) 72 and Jennifer Kupcho (WF) 72; 6. (tie) Isabella DiLisio (ND) 73 and Jordan Ferreira (ND) 73; 15. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) 74; 33. (tie) Maddie Rose Hamilton (ND) 77; 44. (tie) Emma Albrecht (ND) 78.
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).