May 6, 2016
By Chris Masters
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The late American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock used a unique drip painting style that, at first glance, made his works a challenge to understand -- but once Pollock was done, the full picture had evolved into a completed masterpiece.
While few within the University of Notre Dame women's golf team would mistake the squad's first two rounds at the NCAA Birmingham Regional for a Jackson Pollock painting, the truth remains the Fighting Irish still have a chance to come away with their very own work of art in the form of a ticket to the NCAA Championship.
Following Friday's second round at the historic Shoal Creek Club (par 72/6,470 yards) in Birmingham, Alabama, Notre Dame stands in 11th place at +47/623 (309-314), currently nine strokes off the cut line heading the final round. California presently sits in the last qualifying spot at +38, with the Fighting Irish among five chasing teams, all of which are within a single-digit stroke margin of a top-six finish.
The low six teams and the three low individuals not on those six teams will advance to the NCAA Championship later this month in Eugene, Oregon.
"This was a disappointing day in that we didn't get the four scores we needed to get ourselves in better position on the leaderboard," Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. "Scores were high overall, but we missed an opportunity to move up in the standings. We have to show up tomorrow and post a solid team score. If we take care of our business, we will put the pressure on the other teams to have to show up and it could work out in the end.
"Course management is key on this course," she added. "We have to get all five (players) to do that well tomorrow. If we do that, we'll have a chance to move up the leaderboard significantly."
Along with her team's chances for advancement, freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) is tied for 15th place in the individual standings at +7/151 (76-75), just two shots off the cut line and six strokes off the overall lead. Florida State's Matilda Castren and Northwestern's Kacie Komoto share the 36-hole overnight lead at +1, while Vanderbilt's Courtney Zeng (+4) and Jennifer Hahn (+5), and Clemson's Lauren Stephenson (+5) currently hold the three individual qualifying spots.
With the exception of a slight bobble on the final two holes of her front nine (the back side of the Shoal Creek course), Albrecht was superb all day long, picking up a birdie on her fifth hole and reeling off eight consecutive pars on her back nine before narrowly missing a par putt on her final hole of the day (Shoal Creek's No. 9).
Junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) also turned in a largely clean round on Friday, moving into a 40th-place tie at +11/155 (79-76), playing much of her second round at two-over par (including birdies on her fifth and 11th holes) and only a pair of near-misses with the putter preventing pars on two of her closing three holes for an even sharper score.
"Emma and Jordan really played solid rounds and avoided big numbers," Holt said. "They both managed their games very well today."
Freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) also is tied for 40th place at +11/155 (74-81). Hamilton continued her steady play from round one through the better part of Friday's second round, finding herself at three-over par through 12 holes, but a tough finish clipped some of the momentum she had built up to that point.
Senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) is in a tie for 73rd place at +19/163 (81-82) despite an early birdie on her second hole and a run of six pars in her final nine holes.
Freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) is one shot back of Campbell in a 79th-place tie at +20/164 (80-84). Like Campbell, DiLisio got off to a solid start with a birdie on her second hole, but a difficult two-hole stretch on Nos. 4-5 proved to be a tough challenge for the Fighting Irish rookie the remainder of the day.
Notre Dame wraps up play at the 2016 NCAA Birmingham Regional beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET) Saturday, and for the third day in a row, the Fighting Irish will start their round on Shoal Creek's 10th tee. 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 on 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.
NCAA Birmingham Regional
May 5-7, 2016
Shoal Creek Club (par 72/6,470 yards)
TEAM SCORES (36-hole totals): 1. Northwestern 590 (296-294); 2. Florida State 596 (299-297); 3. Oklahoma State 598 (301-297); 4. Alabama 606 (306-300); 5. Tennessee 611 (300-311); 6. California 614 (307-307); 7. Michigan 616 (311-305); 8. (tie) Clemson 618 (308-310) and Vanderbilt 618 (302-316); 10. New Mexico State 621 (303-318); 11. NOTRE DAME 623 (309-314); 12. Middle Tennessee 627 (310-317); 13. Missouri 629 (311-318); 14. Purdue 632 (313-319); 15. Iowa State 634 (310-324); 16. Eastern Kentucky 648 (332-316); 17. Oakland 652 (328-324); 18. Alabama State 670 (333-337).
TOP SEVEN INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 96): 1. (tie) Matilda Castren (FSU) 145 (74-71) and Kacie Komoto (NU) 145 (72-73); 3. (tie) Marianne Li (CAL) 146 (74-72) and Linnea Johansson (OSU) 146 (75-71); 5. Sarah Cho (NU) 147 (75-72); 6. (tie) Janet Mao (NU) 148 (74-74) and Courtney Zeng (VU) 148 (76-72); 15. (tie) Emma Albrecht (ND) 151 (76-75); 40. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 155 (79-76) and Maddie Rose Hamilton (ND) 155 (74-81); 73. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) 163 (81-82); 79. (tie) Isabella DiLisio (ND) 164 (80-84).
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).