Oct. 25, 2015
by Chris Masters
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- For the better part of the first two days at the Landfall Tradition, the University of Notre Dame women's golf team relied on one or two players to carry the scoring load. During Sunday's final round, it was a team effort in every sense of the word, as the Fighting Irish received contributions from nearly every player in their lineup to secure a second-place finish at two-over par 866 (291-294-281) in the powerful 18-team tournament that was played on the Dye Course (par 72/6,157 yards) at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina.
En route to posting the fourth-lowest 54-hole score relative to par in school history, Notre Dame defeated 11 teams that are ranked in the Golfstat Top 50, including four top-20 teams. Second-ranked Duke won the tournament at 855 (-9), while the Fighting Irish carded their best finish and best score in seven appearances at the Landfall Tradition, besting last year's tie for third place at 871 (+7).
With Sunday's result, Notre Dame finished its fall schedule with a 291.36 stroke average, nearly four shots better than the program record for the lowest mark through the fall season (295.08 in 2014-15). The Fighting Irish also won two tournaments, finished in the top five in four events and shot under par in nearly half (five) of their 14 team rounds this fall.
"Today was a great day for the Notre Dame women's golf program," head coach Susan Holt said. "This team can compete with any team in the country. The depth and talent this team has is so exciting. I'm really looking forward to the spring and what this team will do.
"This fall season was the best in the history of the program," Holt added. "The experience of playing for the win, getting two tournament titles and finishing second in another is going to help us down the road for sure. Just being there and having success is such a great boost of confidence. I just love the fight this group has -- their will and desire to be great is infectious!"
Freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) sparked Sunday's charge by the Fighting Irish, registering a career-low 68, including a birdie on her final hole (Landfall's No. 4) that provided the narrow one-shot margin for Notre Dame to edge past 12th-ranked Oklahoma State for runner-up honors.
Hamilton, who became the fifth different Fighting Irish player to post a round in the 60s this fall, finished tied for 19th place in the 96-player field at three-over par 219 (77-74-68), eight shots back of tournament medalist Sarah Burnham of Michigan State. It was Hamilton's third top-20 finish of her rookie season.
Senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) joined Hamilton in a 19th-place tie at three-over par 219 (72-76-71). Like Hamilton, Campbell closed strong on Sunday, rolling in a birdie on her 17th hole (Landfall's No. 2) to get into red numbers for the day and seal her fourth top-20 finish in five outings this season, as well as her ninth in the last 11 Fighting Irish tournaments, all during the 2015 calendar year.
Freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) has been remarkably consistent all season and that trend continued this weekend, as she tied for 24th place at four-over par 220 (75-74-71). Albrecht has finished in the top 25 of all five tournaments this year, and with the exception of an opening-round 80 in her college debut at the Mary Fossum Invitational, she did not shoot worse than 75 in the remaining 13 rounds of the fall season (a 72.76 stroke average in that span).
Freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) could be forgiven if her arms were weary from carrying Notre Dame during the first two days of the tournament. DiLisio entered Sunday's final round leading by four strokes and was atop the leaderboard approaching the turn, but a disastrous six-hole stretch of five bogeys and a double bogey midway through the round dampened her chances at medalist honors. DiLisio finished tied for 35th place at five-over par 221 (67-70-84), her only finish outside the top 20 this fall -- in fact, prior to Sunday's round, DiLisio had compiled a 71.85 stroke average and only two rounds worse than 74.
Junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) closed her fall campaign on a high note, matching her season-low round with a 71 to move up into a 53rd-place tie at 12-over par 228 (78-79-71) in the final tournament standings.
Sophomore Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) competed as an individual participant this weekend and ended up tied for 81st place at 20-over par 236 (77-84-75).
Notre Dame will resume its 2015-16 schedule after the winter break, teeing off Feb. 21-22 in the Westbrook Spring Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin at the Westbrook Village Golf Club in Peoria, Arizona.
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.
Oct. 23-25, 2015
Country Club of Landfall -- Pete Dye Course (par 72/6,157 yards)
Wilmington, North Carolina
FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. Duke 855 (287-284-284); 2. NOTRE DAME 866 (291-294-281); 3. Oklahoma State 867 (289-292-286); 4. Michigan State 872 (291-306-275); 5. Alabama 882 (299-286-297); 6. North Carolina State 885 (295-311-279); 7. Wake Forest 886 (303-294-289); 8. Purdue 887 (296-300-291); 9. South Carolina 888 (301-304-283); 10. (tie) UNC Wilmington 889 (290-297-302) and Clemson 889 (298-306-285); 12. Virginia 890 (301-303-286); 13. Penn State 892 (305-302-285); 14. North Carolina 901 (308-303-290); 15. Ohio State 903 (303-303-297); 16. UCF 910 (308-307-295); 17. Kentucky 922 (307-323-292); 18. Elon 927 (303-316-308).
TOP NINE INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 96): 1. Sarah Burnham (MSU) 211 (71-74-66); 2. (tie) Ashley Holder (UCF) 212 (72-69-71) and Katelyn Dambaugh (USC) 212 (72-72-68); 4. (tie) Jennifer Kupcho (WF) 213 (74-71-68), Leona Maguire (DU) 213 (71-72-70), Maddie McCrary (OKST) 213 (70-71-72) and Celine Boutier (DU) 213 (75-69-69); 8. Lauren Coughlin (UVA) 214 (71-76-67); 9. Lauren Waller (PSU) 215 (75-72-68); 19. (tie) Maddie Rose Hamilton (ND) 219 (77-74-68) and Talia Campbell (ND) 219 (72-76-71); 24. (tie) Emma Albrecht (ND) 220 (75-74-71); 35. (tie) Isabella DiLisio (ND) 221 (67-70-84); 53. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 228 (78-79-71); 81. (tie) Kari Bellville (ND)* 236 (77-84-75).
* - competing as individual participant
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).