May 12, 2012
Columbus, Ohio -
The Notre Dame women's golf team saw the 2011-12 season come to an end on Saturday afternoon as the Irish closed the season with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional, finishing with a round of 312 and a three-day total of 936 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The 936 mark was 23 strokes behind eighth-place Arkansas, the final qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships as the top eight teams and the top two individual golfers from teams not advancing move on to the NCAA Championship at Vanderbilt's Legends Course, May 22-25 in Franklin, Tenn.
The third-ranked University of Southern California squad won the Central Regional as the Trojans ran away and hid from the rest of the field, winning the tournament by 25 strokes over second-place Vanderbilt. USC fired three rounds under 300 on the par 72, 6,248-yard Scarlet Course, finishing Saturday's third round with a two-under par total of 286 and a 10-over par 874 for the 54-hole tournament.
Finishing third was Purdue as the Boilermakers turned in a 38-over par of 902 to end up three strokes behind Vanderbilt (899). Tennessee (904), Virginia (905), Ohio State (908), North Carolina State (911) and Arkansas (913) round out the top eight teams that will advance to the NCAA Championship.
Leading the Irish on Saturday was Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) as the senior captain closed out her brilliant Notre Dame career with a four-over par 76. That gave her a three-day total of 12-over par 228 and a tie for 26th in the tournament's field of 126. She picked up a pair of birdies on the front nine and was one-over after nine holes but three bogeys on the back nine gave her a round of 76.
Joining Huffer in a tie for 26th was freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.). The rookie fired a final round of five-over par 77 to follow up rounds of 72 and 79 for her 12-over total of 228. Armstrong mustered just one birdie on the afternoon with six bogeys in her final round of the season.
Huffer and Armstrong finished 15 strokes behind the regional co-winners - Lisa McCloskey of USC and Florida State's Maria Salinas - who shot three-under par totals of 213. McCloskey advances to the NCAA Championship with her USC teammates while Salinas will advance as an individual as co-champion, while the Seminoles are done after finishing 10th overall.
McCloskey and Salinas were two of just three golfers to finish below par in the regional and were joined by third-place finisher Marina Alex of Vanderbilt who was one-under par for 54 holes with a 215 total. She was followed by Brittany Altomare (Virginia), Sophia Popov (USC) and Emily Tubert (Arkansas) who rounded out the top six individuals with two-over par totals of 218.
Following Huffer and Armstrong for the Irish for the third day was freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) as she shot a final round of six-over par 78 and finished in a tie for 57th with a scorecard of 19-over par 235.
Sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) and senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) rounded out the Irish contingent. Nhim shot a final round of 81 and finished with a 54-hole total of 248 while Allare had an 84 and a 252 mark for the tournament.
For Notre Dame, the 15th-place finish is the second best in the program's seven NCAA Regional appearances. Only last year's fifth-place finish was better and that sent Notre Dame to its first NCAA Championship appearance.
Huffer finished her career with a 75.34 average this season and for the third time in her four years was the top scorer for Notre Dame. For her career, she owns a 75.19 stroke average in 129 career rounds. That ranks her second all-time for the Irish.
TEAM RESULTS (54-hole totals): 1. Southern California 298-290-286-874; 2. Vanderbilt 308-292-299-899; 3. Purdue 301-307-294-902; 4. Tennessee 306-308-290-904; 5. Virginia 308-296-301-905; 6. Ohio State 310-302-296-908; 7. North Carolina State 307-304-300-911; 8. Arkansas 310-308-295-913; 9. Oregon 308-300-306-914; t10. Florida State 314-301-304-919; Georgia 299-318-302-919; 12. Auburn 306-304-312-922; 13. Mississippi 315-311-304-930; 14. Texas State 320-315-300-935; 15. Notre Dame 304-320-312-936; 16. Michigan 315-316-306-937; 17. Kentucky 322-313-303-938; 18. Harvard 315-317-311-943; 19. South Florida 309-325-320-954; 20. Texas-San Antonio 317-326-320-963; 21. East Carolina 329-310-327-966; 22. UNC-Wilmington 323-322-324-969; 23. Butler 321-334-315-970 24. Siena 328-326-327-981; .
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 126): t1. Lisa McCloskey (USC) 73-68-72-213; Maria Salinas (Florida State) 71-72-70-213; 3. Marina Alex (Vanderbilt) 70-73-72-215; t4. Brittany Altomare (Virginia) 75-72-71-218; Sophia Popov (USC) 78-68-72-218; Emily Tubert (Arkansas) 75-75-68-218; 7. Rachel Rohanna (Ohio State) 74-74-72-220; t8. Doris Chen (USC) 72-77-72-221; Lauren Stratton (Vanderbilt) 75-68-78-221; t10. Laura Gonzalez (Purdue) 78-73-71-222; Augusta James (North Carolina State) 78-73-71-222.