May 9, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. – The 26th ranked University of Notre Dame women’s golf team turned in a four-over-par 292-team scorecard Thursday afternoon during the first round of the 2013 NCAA East Regional, tying for eighth place among the 24 teams represented in the field.
The Irish are currently tied with No. 29 Northwestern and finished two strokes ahead of No. 31 Tennessee. No. 2 Alabama leads with an 11-under-par 277. No. 5 Arkansas and No. 20 Tulane are each tied for second with a five-under-par 283.
The three-day, 54-hole tournament (May 9-11) is being held at Auburn University Club’s par-72 course (6,259 yards). The top eight teams from the region will advance to the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga., May 21-24.
Notre Dame’s round of 292 marked the best round ever shot by an Irish squad at the NCAA Regional tournament in the eight appearances made and 22 rounds played to this point.
The 2012-13 squad surpassed the previous best of a 298 set by the 2010-11 team during the first and second round of the NCAA Central Regional at Warren Golf Course (Notre Dame, Ind.). It is also the third-straight year the Irish have finished eighth or better on the team leaderboard concluding the opening round of the NCAA Regional.
Today’s finish has produced a 12-stroke improvement from last year’s first-round score and is the third time the Irish have fired fewer than 300 strokes in any round during the tournament.
“The goal on the first day is to maintain your position with the leaders and keep yourself in the tournament,” says Irish head coach Susan Holt. “Tomorrow is the moving day, we have to move up the leaderboard and take some pressure off of ourselves. We have to attack the course and need to be aggressive, so that we can put ourselves in a great situation to finish it out on the final day. Not that we aren’t the type of team that can go out and shoot an amazing round if needed, but I think we need to focus on putting together three solid rounds and we accomplished the first step of that today. Overall, we were a little up and down on the course. Hole 14 we had three bogeys, but on hole 16 we shot five-under. We played sloppy in some areas and didn’t quite take advantage of some opportunities that were there for us. I saw a lot positive things from the first round and I think we are very energized moving into tomorrow’s round.”
Freshman Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas) led the Irish with a one-under-par 71 round, tying for 14th place in the field of 126 participants. It is her fifth-straight round in which she has fired par or better since beginning her run during the final round of the SMU Invitational (April 7) in Dallas, Texas.
Campbell carded a one-over-par through the first nine holes surrendering just two bogeys, but canceled one of them out with a birdie on hole four (par 5, 501 yards). The freshman went on to fire par or better through her final 13 holes, finishing up the back nine at two-under.
Campbell played a magnificent approach on hole 12 (par 5, 506 yards) as she ran into trouble finding the bunker over the ridge at 250 yards out. The freshman nevertheless scorched her ball out of the deep bunker onto the center fairway setting up a par opportunity in which she capitalized on.
Campbell made back-to-back birdies on hole 16 (par 5, 493 yards) and hole 17 (par 3, 165 yards) before closing out her first collegiate NCAA regional with a par on hole 18 (par 4, 358 yards).
Freshman Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) concluded her round with an even-par 72, tying for 21st.
Weaver, the No. 16 ranked player in the nation, improved her even-par round total to six this season with today’s finish and recorded her fourth-straight round of firing even-par or better.
The freshman shot even-par through her first four holes before surrendering a bogey on hole four. Weaver was even-par on each the front and back nine.
Weaver made a beautiful swirling putt on hole 8 (par 3, 160 yards) reading a 23 foot distance to the cup.
After falling behind to bogeys on hole 11 (par 4, 378 yards) and hole 14, the freshman evened her scorecard with birdies on hole 12 and hole 16.
Junior Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) finished her first round, and seventh overall in the NCAA regionals, with a two-over-par 74, tying for 44th.
Nhim was three-over on the front nine making a birdie on hole eight (par 3, 160 yards), but found her rhythm on the back nine, finishing one-under. The junior shot par or better from holes 10-16, gathering birdies on hole 13 (par 4, 350 yards) and hole 16.
The Irish veteran highlighted her opening round, while holding her 3-wood club, with a pristine drive on hole 16 reaching a distance of 220 yards down the center of the fairway.
Sophomore Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) tied for 54th after shooting a three-over-par 75.
Armstrong was two over on the front and one over on the back nine. The sophomore parred five holes on the front side and made birdie on hole 3 (par 4, 370 yards).
Following a bogey on hole eight, Armstrong went on to par three straight holes before making birdie on hole 12.
Armstrong pulled off the ever so rare eagle on hole 16, joining Weaver and Campbell in the Irish eagle club this season.
“It was a great feeling to get the eagle after I battled up and down all day with second and third shots,” says Armstrong. “After trying to figure it out through the first 15 holes I was finally able to roll it up a bit on the green and find the hole with my pitching wedge.”
Sophomore Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) rounded out the day for the Irish with an eight-over-par 80, tying for 104th.
Oride parred three holes on the front, ending with a six-over-par through her first nine holes. The sophomore battled back in the closing nine holes finishing two-over.
Oride made birdie on hole 12 and parred her final four holes.
Notre Dame is set to tee off from hole 10 tomorrow at 12:50 a.m. (EST).
Teams: 1. Alabama (277/-11), T2. Arkansas (283/-5), T2. Tulane (283/-5) , 4. UCLA (288/E) 5. Texas (289/+1), T6. Oklahoma State (290/+2), T6. North Carolina (290/+2), T8. Notre Dame (292/+4), T8. Northwestern (292/+4), 10. Tennessee (294/+6), 11. E. Tenn. St. (297/+9), T12. Auburn (299/+11, T12. Mississippi (299/+11), 14. Virginia (300/+12), T15. Kentucky (301/+13), T15. East Carolina (301/+13), T15. Texas State (301/+13), 18. FIU (304/+16), 19. Chattanooga (309/+21), 20. Penn State (310/+22), 21. UCF (312/+24), 22. James Madison (316/+28), 23. Eastern Kentucky (321/+33), 24. Ala. St. (335/+47).
Top-5 Individuals: T1. Emma Lavy (Arkansas) 67/-5, T1. Erica Popson (Tennessee) 67/-5, T1. Emma Talley (Alabama) 67/-5, T4. Jackie Chang (North Carolina) 68/-4, T4. Stephanie Meadow (Alabama) 68/-4.