April 16, 2016
By Chris Masters
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, the University of Notre Dame women's golf team wasn't going to make up its entire first-day deficit at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in only one round. That sure didn't stop the Fighting Irish from trying.
Notre Dame played Saturday's second round 11 strokes better than the previous day and now stands at 33-over par 609 (310-299), holding steady in 10th place while significantly closing the gap between itself and the top half of the 12-team field in the 28th annual conference tournament at the legendary Sedgefield Country Club (par 72/6,089 yards) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) was the spark behind Saturday's resurgence, rising into a tie for seventh place at two-over par 146 (76-70) following a second-round 70 (-2), tying the second-lowest round of the day (and one of only five golfers in the 60-player field to break par on Saturday). Campbell was particularly solid down the stretch with three birdies on her final seven holes, closing with a flourish by rolling in a birdie putt on No. 18.
With Saturday's effort, Campbell is in position to become the first Notre Dame player in the program's 28-year history to be the top Fighting Irish finisher at four consecutive conference tournaments. What's more, she could become the fifth Notre Dame golfer to record four consecutive top-15 finishes in league championship play.
The Fighting Irish are 36 strokes behind overnight leader Virginia, while Campbell is nine shots off the individual leader held by UVa's Lauren Coughlin.
"We bounced back with a better round today," Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. "We battled, hit some good shots and made a few important putts. In fact, I think we were probably a bit unlucky to take some more shots off our score, based on how well our players were swinging the club today. The key tomorrow will be to build on our momentum, continue to put pressure on those teams ahead of us and remain focused on the job at hand."
Freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) continued her steady play in her first ACC Championship appearance, currently tying for 19th place at five-over par 149 (75-74). Albrecht was making her own run into the top 10 midway through Saturday's second round, moving to one-under for the day with a birdie on No. 11. However, she came back to Earth slightly with three bogeys on the back nine, including blemishes on the 13th and 16th holes, which played among the six hardest on the Sedgefield layout on Saturday.
Fellow rookie Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) posted her second consecutive round of 78 and now stands tied for 46th place at 12-over par 156 (78-78) for the tournament. Hamilton's day included a spectacular near-miss on No. 9 after her approach shot found a daunting uphill lie in the face of a bunker 40 yards short of the green. Despite taking an awkward stance, Hamilton pulled off a terrific third shot, blasting out to the green, eight feet below the hole. However, she couldn't quite finish the par-saver, even as her putt tantalizingly brushed the lip of the cup on the high side.
The third Notre Dame freshman competing this weekend, Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy), is in a 53rd-place tie at 14-over par 158 (81-77). DiLisio's round was highlighted by a sensational par save at the same ninth hole that Hamilton nearly tamed. After DiLisio pulled her approach shot left of the green, she had to cozy a slick, pin-high 50-foot putt to within steps of the cup, and then roll in the ensuing par putt.
Junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) capped the Fighting Irish representation in Saturday's field, standing in 57th place at 20-over par 164 (83-81).
Notre Dame will wrap up the 2016 ACC Championship at 8 a.m. (ET) Sunday, starting on the 10th tee at Sedgefield. Live scoring will be available through the Golfstat web site (Golfstat.com), with ESPN3 adding televised coverage beginning at 1 p.m. (ET).
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.
April 15-17, 2016
Sedgefield Country Club (par 72/6,089 yards)
Greensboro, North Carolina
TEAM SCORES (36-hole totals): 1. Virginia 573 (283-290); 2. Wake Forest 579 (294-285); 3. Duke 590 (294-296); 4. North Carolina State 594 (297-297); 5. Clemson 597 (298-299); 6. North Carolina 598 (298-300); 7. Miami 602 (301-301); 8. (tie) Florida State 606 (299-307) and Louisville 606 (311-295); 10. NOTRE DAME 609 (310-299); 11. Boston College 613 (304-309); 12. Virginia Tech 630 (320-310).
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 60): 1. Lauren Coughlin (UVA) 137 (66-71); 2. Jennifer Kupcho (WF) 140 (66-74); 3. Lauren Diaz-Yi (UVA) 141 (71-70); 4. Sierra Sims (WF) 142 (76-66); 5. (tie) Daniela Darquea (UM) 145 (71-74) and Leona Maguire (DU) 145 (70-75); 7. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) 146 (76-70), Naomi Ko (NCST) 146 (71-75), Sydney Legacy (CU) 146 (72-74) and Rachael Taylor (NCST) 146 (75-71); 19. (tie) Emma Albrecht (ND) 149 (75-74); 46. (tie) Maddie Rose Hamilton (ND) 156 (78-78); 53. (tie) Isabella DiLisio (ND) 158 (81-77); 57. Jordan Ferreira (ND) 164 (83-81).
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).