LINCOLN, Neb. -- Prior to this week, the University of Notre Dame women's golf team had never set foot in the state of Nebraska. After this week, the Fighting Irish may never want to leave.
Notre Dame capped off one of the most dominant performances in the program's 28-year history on Tuesday, finishing at four-under par 860 (297-280-283) to win the University of Nebraska's Chip-N Club Invitational by a staggering 30 strokes at the Country Club of Lincoln (par 72/6,105 yards) in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was the largest margin of victory for the Fighting Irish since March 13, 2005, when they posted a 35-shot win at the St. Croix Collegiate Classic in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Notre Dame earned its second tournament win in three tries this season on the strength of the second-lowest 54-hole score (relative to par) in school history, topped only by an 858 (-6) total at the 2008 Heather Farr Memorial. The Fighting Irish also obliterated the Chip-N Club Invitational record for lowest team score, erasing Kent State's previous standard by 12 strokes (872 in 2001).
This marks the first time since 2012-13 that Notre Dame has won two tournaments in a single season, and the fourth time the Fighting Irish have earned a pair of tournament titles in their first three events of a season (along with 2003-04, 2007-08 and 2010-11). That 2010-11 campaign was the last time Notre Dame finished in the top five in each of its first three tournaments, something the Fighting Irish now have done four times in program annals (also 2005-06 and 2007-08).
Notre Dame closed the tournament in strong fashion, following up Monday's second-round 280 (-8), the lowest score relative to par in school history, with a third-round 283 (-5) that stands fourth on the program's single-round list. What's more, in those final 36 holes, the Fighting Irish carded 44 birdies and the six Notre Dame golfers (five in the lineup, plus one individual participant) posted nine of a possible 12 rounds at par or lower, including three rounds in the 60s.
"This was just an awesome team win," Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. "Everyone had a hand in it, which is great to see. We have shown our depth as a team each tournament so far, and that's exactly what we want."
"It was a very impressive tournament that showcased our depth as a team," added senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy). "Everyone contributed to the team score and had an even or under-par round count. It appears that everyone's game is starting to come together, as evidenced by our consistent scoring and the all-around difficulty of the course."
All six Notre Dame golfers finished among the top 15 in the 75-player field, led by freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy), who finished second with a career-low score of two-under par 214 (76-66-72). It also was DiLisio's second top-five finish of her young career, following a tie for fifth at the season-opening Mary Fossum Invitational.
In the 28-year history of the Fighting Irish women's golf program prior to this week, only two players had shot a school-record 66 on a par-72 course -- Lisa Maunu in the first round of the 2007 Cougar Classic and So-Hyun Park in the second round of the 2008 Heather Farr Memorial. Yet, Notre Dame had that happen twice in consecutive days at the Chip-N Club Invitational.
Less than 24 hours after DiLisio's second-round 66, Campbell matched her rookie teammate, blistering the tree-lined Country Club of Lincoln with seven birdies against a lone bogey and surging up to finish third at one-under par 215 (74-75-66). It was the second top-three finish of the season for Campbell, highlighted by her second career 66, although her first came on a par-70 course at last year's Schooner Fall Classic.
"Unlike yesterday, I kept the ball in the fairway off the tee," Campbell said. "That allowed me to have scoring opportunities. Fortunately I was able to capitalize on enough of those to post a solid round."
Sophomore Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) and freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) tied for fourth place after matching career-low scores of even-par 216 -- Bellville (who had a gross score of five-over par 215 at the 2014 Schooner Fall Classic) registered scores of 76-68-72 while Hamilton, playing as an individual competitor, carded rounds of 73-72-71. Both players also turned in their best career finishes at the Chip-N Club Invitational.
Junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) collected her second career top-10 finish, earning a share of 10th place this week at three-over par 219 (73-72-74). It was Ferreira's best finish since her college debut when she tied for eighth place at the 2013 IU Fall Kickoff.
Freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) rounded out the Fighting Irish lineup with a tie for 14th place and a career-low score of five-over par 221 (74-74-73). Albrecht also joins Campbell in finishing among the top 15 in all three tournaments this season.
Notre Dame will be back in action Oct. 19-20 when it travels to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Cardinal Cup, hosted by fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member, Louisville at the University of Louisville Golf Club. Live scoring will be available for the Cardinal Cup 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.
Chip-N Club Invitational
Oct. 5-6, 2015
Country Club of Lincoln (par 72/6,105 yards)
FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. NOTRE DAME 860 (297-280-283); 2. South Dakota State 890 (295-299-296); 3. Kansas 893 (299-302-292); 4. Missouri State 894 (302-298-294); 5. Nebraska 895 (301-292-302); 6. UMKC 914 (304-305-305); 7. South Dakota 939 (307-309-323); 8. North Dakota State 945 (312-310-323); 9. Bellevue 946 (317-316-313); 10. Illinois State 947 (314-313-320); 11. Creighton 955 (324-307-324); 12. Nebraska-Omaha 973 (325-315-333); 13. Nebraska-Kearney 1006 (337-339-330).
TOP 11 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 75): 1. Yupaporn Kawinpakorn (KU) 212 (72-72-68); 2. Isabella DiLisio (ND) 214 (76-66-72); 3. Talia Campbell (ND) 215 (74-75-66); 4. (tie) Maddie Rose Hamilton (ND)* 216 (73-72-71) and Kari Bellville (ND) 216 (76-68-72); 6. (tie) Megan Mingo (SDSU) 218 (73-69-76), Ariadna Fonseca (KU) 218 (75-75-68), Stine Pettersen (MSU) 218 (73-72-73) and Verena Gimmy (MSU) 218 (74-72-72); 10. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 219 (73-72-74) and Cynthia Diaz (UMKC) 219 (72-72-75); 14. (tie) Emma Albrecht (ND) 221 (74-74-73).
* - competing as individual participant
-- Chris Masters, Athletics Communications Associate Director