Feb. 13, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame women's golf team opens up the spring portion of its season when it travel to Tallahassee, Fla., Friday through Sunday to compete in the Match-Up Invitational at the Southwood Golf Club hosted by Florida State.
The Irish enter the spring slate with a 49-13-0 record through four tournaments this season, including six victories over teams ranked in the nation's top-25. Notre Dame finished seventh or better within a minimal tournament field of 15 teams during the fall of 2012 and claimed one runner-up team finish last fall at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic. The Irish concluded the fall schedule ranked No. 14 in the country in the Golfstat rankings. The team's No. 14 ranking was Notre Dame's best mid-season ranking in program history.
"This winter we have had three solid weeks of practice leading up to this event," says head coach Susan Holt. "Each of the players have based practice sessions off of their own personal stats from the fall season. With our state-of-the-art indoor golf facility we are able to get quality short game practice in daily on our 3,000-square foot putting and chipping green. Each player has been doing their own drills and improving technique daily in the areas of putting and chipping. Each of the players have been working on their swings hitting balls out of the heated hitting bays as well. The players have been using the V1 video system and the Trakman unit to work on specific areas of their swings. The video feedback they get using these two systems really helps to pin point what they need to work on. So far the players have been very focused at practice and getting the most out of their practice time each day. In watching them at practice and talking with them I think they are all feeling good about their respective games and are going to be ready to tee it up at FSU and be very competitive."
LIVE SCORING AND UPDATES: Hole-by-hole live scoring is available on golfstat.com. Sign up for IRISH ALERT to receive day-to-day scoring and team finishes via text message. Fans can register for the service by visiting UND.com and clicking on the Fan Center tab. A full recap and posting of results for each day can be found on the women's golf page at UND.com.
THE FIELD: (12) Florida State, Furman, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas San Antonio, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington Greensboro/UNC Wilmington.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The inaugural Florida State Match-Up Tournament is an excusive event rivaling the most unique format in NCAA women's golf. Six initial teams were sent an invitation to participate in the tournament. Those six teams then were able to contact a team of their choice to partner up with them in the tournament. The 12 teams will tee off in twosomes for the first two rounds and shotgun in threesomes for the final round. The twosomes will consist of the partner teams playing together and are as follows: Florida State/Texas A&M, Oklahoma/Georgia, Notre Dame/Michigan, Tennessee/Texas San Antonio, Furman/Kansas, and UNC Greensboro/UNC Wilmington. Scoring will be determined by the top four scores from the partners (a total of ten players) and the worst score to make the Match Up team total. At the end of the tournament, the teams with the lowest score will win the Match Up. An individual champion and team champion will be crowned. There will be 54 holes of play with 18 holes being played each day.
SCOUTING THE FIELD: Notre Dame holds a 1-0 record against Kansas, Michigan, Florida State and UNC Wilmington already this season. The Irish are 2-1 this year against No. 23 Texas A & M and 0-1 against No. 5 Oklahoma. Notre Dame's team partner, Michigan, finished first out of 14 teams at the Michigan Invitational with a team score of (308-308-314-930) Sept. 22-23. The Wolverines recently competed at the Edwin Watts Palmetto Intercollegiate Oct. 28-29 at the Oak Pointe Golf Club in Kiawah Island, S.C. Michigan tied for fourth out of 17 teams with a score of (319-304-324-947).
THE COURSE: Southwood Golf Club, designed by PGA Tour player Fred Couples and architect Gene Bates, is a public course that opened in 2002. Couples was ranked the No. 1 player in the world for four months in 1992 and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The course has been coined one of the "Top New Courses in America" by Golf Magazine. Southwood has additional been named the "Top 50 Courses for women by Women" in Golf Magazine. The course is registered as a Par 72 measuring a total of 7, 172 yards from the longest tees. It has been given a 74.5 course rating and has a slope rating of 133 according to the Professional Golfers Association of America.
"It is always a treat for our players to play great golf venues and Southwood will certainly give us that opportunity," Holt says. "FSU is actually hosting the 2014 NCAA Women's Golf East Regional at Southwood. If anything, it will give us a chance to play the course should we get assigned to that regional in `14. Playing in Florida at least once before we return to the state for the Big East Championship in April at The Reunion Club in Orlando will give our players a chance to get a feel for the Bermuda grass which is an obvious adjustment for us when we head south."
FORECAST: This weekend's contest will see sunny skies all three days with a 10 percent chance of showers. Thirty-six degrees will mark the low through the three-day tournament on Saturday and a high of 69 degrees will be reached Friday. Wind is expected to stay under 10 mph on Friday and Sunday, but is expected to see gusts as high as 22 mph on Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT: The Irish last competed in tournament play on Oct. 28, 2012 during the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. on the Country Club of Landfall's Ocean Marsh Course. Play was called midway through the second round due to inclement weather from Hurricane Sandy. Notre Dame placed fifth out of 17 teams after finishing with an eight-over-par 296 through 18 holes.
PROGRESSION: Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) has already surpassed her best career round of a one-over-par 73 on two occasions this season. Oride set the new standard on Sept. 15 after firing a two-under-par 70 in the second round of the Mary Fossum Invitational. Oride has also broken last year's career best 54-hole tournament score of a nine-over-par 224. Oride accomplished a six-over-par 222 at the Mary Fossum Invitational and fired an eight-over-par 224 at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic Oct. 15-17. Oride additional found new heights this season after finishing with the most pars at the Windy City Collegiate Championship on Oct. 1-2. Her 43 pars through 54 holes led the entire field of 80 golfers.
CONTRIBUTING EARLY: Freshman Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished the fall as the No. 1 player in the nation according to Golfstat's NCAA rankings and ranks No. 3 according to Golfweek's Feb. 6 rankings. The Irish rookie is current 10-0 against top-10 opponents and 23-0 against top-50 opponents. Weaver was additionally named the BIG EAST Golf Player of the Month during the month of October. Golfstat.com has ranked Notre Dame No. 5 for the Golfstat Top-25 Freshman Class Impact Ranking on Feb. 4, 2013 thanks to the efforts of freshmen counterparts Weaver and Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas). The pair each recorded an eagle at the Susie Maxwell Classic with Campbell gathering in a total of two for the tournament. The freshman duo has combined with nine rounds even or under par and Weaver has shot even or under par in three of the four tournaments she has played in.
STACKING UP AGAINST THE NATION'S TOP-25: Though Notre Dame fell behind to No. 2 Washington at the Windy City Collegiate Championship, they finished just 10 strokes behind the Huskies in the tournament and trailed by just one stroke in the second round (293-294). The Irish additional finished second to No. 5 Oklahoma at the Susie Maxwell Classic. Notre Dame held a 2-1 record against the No. 20 Texas Tech in the fall. The Irish split with a 1-1 record against No. 17 Michigan State, No. 24 Northwestern and No. 25 Iowa State.
CLIMBING THE LIST: Armstrong currently ranks third in the Irish record book for career stroke average (minimal 35 rounds) with an average of 75.50 through 36 rounds. Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) holds firm in sixth averaging a 76.93 through 76 rounds. Oride also cracks the top-10 as she sits ninth on the all-time list with a 76.93 stroke average through 76 rounds.
"The ladies are really excited for the spring season," said Holt. "They are ready to finish off what they started in the fall season. This is the most important part of the season with the Big East Championship on the line and a return to the NCAA finals definitely on our list of goals to achieve. While we had a successful fall we know that we can still play even better and they are determined to do just this spring. As a group they have lofty personal and team goals but I think they have the talent to pull it off. It just comes down to execution. If we can stay focused and poised I think this spring will be the best in the history of the program."
BUILDING A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: Since making their first appearance in 2004, the Irish have advanced to the NCAA Central Regional tournament on eight occasions with six of those appearances coming under Holt's watch. Notre Dame has finished 18th or better in all eight attempts. The Irish achieved a fifth-place finish (program best) in 2011 at the NCAA Central Regional landing just 11 strokes behind UCLA who later went on to win the NCAA Championships that same year. Nhim aided Notre Dame to a berth in the 2011 NCAA Championship after tying for 14th place in the NCAA Central Regional (71-78-74) and firing an eight-over-par-224. The Irish concluded the '11 season with a 22nd place finish in their lone NCAA Championship appearance firing a 72-over-par-1,224 through four rounds of play.
STROKE AVERAGE: Notre Dame finished the fall portion with a 296.40 stroke average through four tournaments. The squad outshot last year's stroke average (306.08) through the first tournament by 10 strokes. The Irish have additional outshot the stoke average through the first four tournaments of the '11 season by one stroke (297.83), the same year Notre Dame finished fifth in the NCAA Central Regional tournament. The 296.40 stroke average is the best start in the first four tournaments for the Irish since the 2008-09 season when the squad fired an average of 295.83.
BIG EAST DOMINANCE: Notre Dame has asserted a premiere presence in the conference championship since the BIG EAST started hosting the event in 2003. The Irish currently lead the conference with five tournament titles. Notre Dame has placed third or better through it's ten years the championship has been offered. Nhim ('11, '12) and Armstrong ('12) each represent the active roster members with all-BIG EAST honors. Last season the Irish were runner-up to South Florida by a mere stroke. Armstrong (2012 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year) will look to defend her title from last year's tournament after winning in a sudden death third hole playoff over Louisville's Emily Haas with a tournament total of a seven-over par mark of 223 (73-77-73). Armstrong is the fifth Notre Dame player to win the event.
ABOVE AND BEYOND: All five active golfers have at least one top-10 finish in collegiate play and each finished the fall slate firing at least one round even or under par. Weaver leads the team with seven followed by Oride with three. Weaver leads all active roster members this year with the lowest round (68) and Armstrong leads all-time among the active roster after firing a 67 in the first round of the Notre Dame Clover Cup last year.
STUDENT-ATHLETES: The women's golf team has earned the university's Academic Excellence Award nine times and has been awarded the honor the last four years. The award is given to the Notre Dame team with the highest GPA of the semester. Nhim (2010-'11, '11-'12) Armstrong ('11-'12) and Oride ('11-'12) have been selected as a BIG-EAST Scholar Athlete. Armstrong and Oride were additional named to last year's National Golf Coaches Association All-Scholar Team.
NATIONAL TOURNAMENTS: All five active roster members have played in at least one United States Golf Association (USGA) sponsored tournament. Armstrong (T-142nd) and Weaver (T-131st) each participated in the `12 U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run (Kohler, Wisc.). Oride (T-105th) played in the `12 U.S. Women's Amateur Pub-Links tournament at Neshanic Valley Golf Club (Neshanic Station, N.J.). Campbell (T-33rd) was a participant in the '11 U.S. Women's Amateur at the Rhode Island Country Club and played along side of Armstrong (T-69th). Nhim (T-87th) most recently competed in the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur at the Charlotte Country Club (Charlotte, N.C.). Oride leads the current active roster members with three USGA tournament appearances followed by Armstrong and Nhim who have each play in two.
NEW SIGNEE: Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash.) signed her National Letter of Intent on Nov. 14, 2012 to join the Irish for the 2013-14 season. Currently in her senior year at Bellarmine Preparatory School, Ferreira ranks No. 24 by the Junior Golf Scoreboard, No. 30 by Golfweek and No. 47 by American Junior Golf Association in the class of '13. Ferreira has assisted the Lady Lions to three Narrow League championships (2010-2012) and three Washington 4A state crowns (2010-12). In each of the last two state championships (2011 and '12), she was runner-up for medalist honors and finished third in '10 during her freshman season. In May '12, Ferreira, a two-time Washington State Golf Association Girls Player of the Year, posted her best finish in a 36-hole tournament with an even-par-144 (73-71). Ferreira participated in the 111th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in '11 at The Country Club (par-71) in Cleveland, Ohio. She finished 119th with a 14-over-par 156 and fired even on the Par 5's. Ferreira qualified for the event after firing a 72-even-par at the Oakbrook Golf & Country Club in Lakewood, Wash. In addition she was named to the HP Scholastic All-American Team in `12 and holds a 3.95 GPA through three years at Bellarmine.
Following the Match-Up Invitational, the Irish will play host to the Clover Cup March 8-10 at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.