March 8, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
OFF TO THE BAYOU: The Notre Dame women's golf team returns to action this weekend, March 9-11, as the Irish participate in the 2012 LSU Tiger Classic at the University Club in Baton Rouge, La. The 54-hole tournament is sponsored by Louisiana State University and features another strong field. This is Notre Dame's second tournament of the spring and coach Susan Holt and her squad will be looking to rebound from a disappointing final eight holes at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate last weekend where they finished 13th in a 15-team field. This weekend's 14-team tournament will be played on the Jim Lipe-designed, par-72, 6,350-yard course that opened in 1988. The tournament field for the Tiger Golf Classic is a challenging one as it features nine teams in Golfweek's most recent top 50 poll, including No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Vanderbilt and No. 9 North Carolina. The tournament will also give Notre Dame its first look at BIG EAST foe, Louisville, as the Cardinals are ranked 56th by Golfweek. The Irish, ranked 55th, figure to battle Louisville and South Florida for the BIG EAST crown this season.
Name: 2012 LSU Tiger Golf Classic (hosted by Louisiana State University)
Course: University Club (par 72, 6,350 yards)
Jim Lipe-designed course in Baton Rouge, La.
Field: 14 teams (2012 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings as of March 5, 2012):
LSU (7), Vanderbilt (8), North Carolina (9), North Carolina State (17),
Tennessee (22), Virginia (23), Purdue (27), TCU (34), Kentucky (39),
Notre Dame (55), Louisville (56), College of Charleston (88),
UNC-Wilmintgon (107) and University of Louisiana-Monroe (113).
TOURNAMENT UPDATES: Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. Results also will be available on the Louisiana State website (www.lsusports.net) each day. Round-by-round recaps and everything you need to know about Notre Dame women's golf will be available at UND.com.
THE COURSE: The tournament will be played on the challenging par-72, 6,350-yard University Club of Baton Rouge course that is located seven miles south of the LSU campus. The course was originally designed by renowned golf course designer Jim Lipe and opened in 1988. In 2009-10, the course was redesigned by LSU grad and PGA Tour pro David Toms and Lipe to the shape it is today. The University Club has played host to the Tiger Golf Classic every year, except 2010, since 2000 with LSU winning it in 2000, 2001 and 2005. It will play host to the 2013 NCAA Men's Golf Regional.
WEATHER OUTLOOK: The weather forecast for Baton Rouge and the LSU Tiger Golf Classic looks like this: Friday, March 9 - Scattered thunderstorms with 40% chance of rain and a high of 75; Saturday, March 10 - Scattered showers, 30% chance of rain and a high of 73; Sunday, March 11 - Scattered thunderstorms, 50% chance of rain and a high of 74 degrees.
IRISH LINEUP: Notre Dame's five-player lineup includes: Becca Huffer (Sr., Denver, Colo.), Kristina Nhim (So., Cypress, Calif.), Kelli Oride (Fr., Lihue, Hawaii), Ashley Armstrong (Fr., Flossmoor, Ill.) and Katie Allare (Sr., Phoenix, Ariz.). Huffer is a three time all-BIG EAST selection who leads Notre Dame through the first five tournaments of the 2011-12 season with a 75.50 average. She is followed by Armstrong who owns a 76.86 average in her freshman year. Oride is third overall with a 78.07 mark and is followed by Nhim with a 78.21 in 14 rounds and Allare who checks in with an 80.08 mark this season.
TEE TIMES: Tee times for the Notre Dame women's golf team have been announced for the opening round on Friday, March 9 at the LSU Tiger Golf Classic. The Irish will start on the 10th hole along with golfers from Louisville and the College of Charleston. Freshman Kelli Oride starts for the Irish at 9:20 a.m. She will be followed by senior Katie Allare at 9:30 a.m. Senior Becca Huffer will start the tournament at 9:40 with sophomore Kristina Nhim getting her tournament underway at 9:50. Freshman Ashley Armstrong rounds out the Notre Dame contingent with a 10:00 a.m. start.
LAST TIME OUT: The Irish are coming off a 13th-place finish at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Tournament at Hilton Head, S.C., March 2-4. Notre Dame had rounds of 301-319 for a 620 total in the rain-shortened tournament. For the Irish, it was a tale of two tournaments. After shooting a 301 on their first day of competitive play in the spring on Friday, they got out of the gates quickly in Saturday's second round and had moved up to sixth place and were 26-over par when the round was stopped due to lightning and thunderstorms with eight holes to play. The teams returned to the course on Sunday morning to finish the second and what would be the final round of the tournament. That's when Notre Dame's struggles came, as the Irish were 26-over for the final eight holes to fall to 13th for the weekend. They finished 49 strokes behind tourney winner, Alabama. Individually, it was a big weekend for freshman Ashley Armstrong who had the best two rounds and finish of her career as she fired a six-over par 73-75 -148. The Illinois native was even par on Saturday with six holes to play when the rains came. She was followed by sophomore Kristina Nhim who tied for 38th with a 74-80 for a 154 total. Becca Huffer finished in a tie for 43rd after rounds of 74-81 for a 13-over par 155. Senior Katie Allare was 73rd with 80-83-163 and freshman Kelli Oride shot back-to-back rounds of 85 for a 170.
THE COACH: Susan Holt is in her sixth season as the women's golf coach at Notre Dame and her 22nd as a Division I head coach. She also served as head coach at Purdue University (1990-93) and the University of South Florida (1993-2006). In her first five seasons at Notre Dame, the Irish have won a pair of BIG EAST titles (2008 and 2011), made four NCAA regional appearances (2008, `09, `10, 11) and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time last May (2011) where they finished 22nd overall. A two-time BIG EAST coach of the year (2008, 2011), Holt's teams have turned in the top four team averages during her tenure. In 2010-11, the Irish turned in four, first-place finishes, including the 2011 BIG EAST championship. During the 2011-12 fall schedule, Holt's team had a tie for ninth at the Golfweek Conference Challege at Vail, Colo., an 18th-place finish at the Tar Heel Invitational, a second at the Hoosier Fall Invitational at Crooked Stick Golf Club and a tie for 10th at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C.
THE CAPTAIN: Senior Becca Huffer will serve as the team's captain for the 2011-12 season. A three-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer is coming off a strong fall schedule that saw her lead the Irish with a 75.16 average will winning her first collegiate tournament - the Hoosier Fall Invitational (Oct. 17-18) with a four-over par, 54-hole total of 220. She also had a 10th-place finish at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., to close the fall with an 11-over par total of 227. As a junior in 2010-11, she turned in her best season at Notre Dame with four, top-10 finishes, including a then career-best second-place finish at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate with a five-under par 211 in leading the Irish to a tournament win. For her junior campaign, Huffer's 74.97 stroke average was second on the team and the second lowest of her career. In 38 career tournaments, covering 112 rounds, the industrial design major owns a 75.14 career stroke average that is second best in the program's history. During her Notre Dame golf career, Huffer has helped the Irish to a BIG EAST Championship in 2011 and two second-place finishes in 2009 and 2010. The 2009 BIG EAST rookie of the year, she had her best conference finish last season as she finished fourth overall with a seven-over par 223. Huffer has participated in three NCAA Regionals and in 2011 helped Notre Dame to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship. As a junior in 2010-11, Huffer helped Notre Dame to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships as the team finished fifth at the Central Regional and then 22nd in the NCAA Championships in Bryan, Tex. There, she was Notre Dame's top finisher with a 72-hole total of eight-over par, 296.
WINNING: Becca Huffer's tournament win at the Hoosier Fall Invitational marked the first time an Irish women's golfer had won an individual tournament title since Nicole Zhang won at the Mary Fossum Invitational, Sept. 25-26, 2010. For Huffer, the finish was her best with the previous being a second-place finish at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate, March 21-22, 2011.
THE FRESHMEN: Freshmen Ashley Armstrong and Kelli Oride begin their first seasons with the Irish but are no strangers to highly competitive golf. The duo brings impressive credentials to the Irish lineup. Armstrong is a two-time HP Scholastic Junior All-American and qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur this past summer. A top-five finisher in the Illinois Class AA golf championship in all four of her seasons at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, she was third in her senior season (2010). A four-time team MVP, Armstrong capped her summer of 2011 by winning the Women's Western Amateur Tournament in July. Oride is a three-time state medalist and a two-time runner-up from Hawaii. She qualified as an alternate for the 2011 U.S. Women's Open Tournament. Oride was ranked 20th in Golfweek's class of 2011 rankings while Armstrong was ranked 41st.
RECRUITS: Notre Dame women's golf head coach Susan Holt has announced the signing of two student-athletes to national letters-of-intent to attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 2012. Joining the Irish roster next fall are Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas) and Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.). In making the announcement, Holt said, "We are very excited about adding Talia and Lindsey to our lineup for the next four years. This is the top class we've ever recruited and Lindsey is the highest rated individual golfer we've had decide to attend Notre Dame. They are both very talented golfers and will have an impact on the program very early."
Talia Campbell is in her senior season at Ursuline Academy of Dallas College Prep where she has helped lead her school to three consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 5A state titles, winning the individual title in 2010 and 2011. Campbell is a three-time all-state selection and in the national junior rankings was ranked 29th by the Junior Golf Scoreboard that ranks all tournaments played, 15th in the Junior Golfweek rankings and 32nd in the Polo golf rankings. For the 2011 season, Campbell has a 75.00 average for 12 rounds in 2011 AJGA tournaments. She was selected as a 2011 Hewlett Packard AJGA Scholastic All-American, an honor that represents her strengths in the classroom and on the golf course, and was an honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American in 2011.
Lindsey Weaver is in her final year of high school at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Ariz., and brings impressive credentials to Notre Dame. At her signing, Weaver was ranked third nationally in the Junior Golf Scoreboard, seventh in the Golfweek Junior Golf rankings and 20th in the Polo golf rankings. In eight AJGA tournaments this past season she had seven top-10 finishes with five top fives and two tournament championships. Her titles included winning the 2011 Stonehenge Junior Open in Winona Lake, Ind., last August with a nine-under par 204. In July, she went wire-to-wire to win the MacArthur Towel and Sports Future Legends with a three-under par 210. In 24 rounds this season, she owns a 70.88 stroke average in AJGA Tournaments. Weaver was selected as a 2011 Hewlett Packard AJGA Scholastic All-American and was a second team Rolex Junior All-American to cap her 2010-11 season. In September, she also was selected to the Ping Junior Solheim Cup team where she played a key role in helping the United States retain the Cup. In opening day action, Weaver lost in foursomes and then won her fourball match. On the final day, in the singles, she clinched the United States' 12th point with a 2 and 1 win over England's Charley Hull. Weaver has played junior golf for the last six years and has her name throughout the AJGA record book. She is tied for 14th all-time with seven career wins and is tied for first for most years with a win (6) and consecutive years with a win (6). Those records tie her with current pros Vicki Goetze and Grace Park. The additions of Campbell and Weaver mark the fifth consecutive highly touted recruiting class that Holt and assistant Kyle Lynne Veltri have brought to Notre Dame.
IN THE CLASSROOM: The Notre Dame women's golf program continues to have success both on the golf course and in the classroom during the 2011-12 season. After setting a Notre Dame-best mark of 3.638 during the spring semester of 2010, the women's golfers went a step further in the fall of 2011, recording an even better 3.655 grade-point average as a team, the best team grade-point average for a semester by any squad since the University began keeping those records. Since 2006, the women's golf team has a 3.408 team grade-point average. In 11 previous semesters, the team has recorded just one semester below a 3.00 and since the spring of 2009, the semester grade point has gone from 3.406 to 3.655.
ONE OF THE BEST: Golfweek Magazine has ranked the Notre Dame women's golf team's home course - The Warren Golf Course - as one of the top 15 college golf courses in the nation. To qualify for the Golfweek's Best Campus Courses list, a course must be part of a school's recreational life in terms of preferential access for students, faculty and alumni. Last year, Golfweek ranked the Warren Golf Course as the 14th-best college golf course. This year the home course of the Irish moved up two notches to 12th, passing the likes of the University of Michigan Golf Course and Duke University Golf Course. Co-designed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran Ben Crenshaw, the Warren Golf Course opened on May 1, 2000 and has played host to three U.S. Amateur Championship qualifiers, the `05 and `10 men's NCAA Central Regional, the `11 women's NCAA Central Regional, three Western Amateur Championship qualifiers, five BIG EAST Conference Men's Championships and three BIG EAST Women's Championships.
NEXT FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame heads to Mesa, Arizona for spring break week where the Irish will host the 2012 Clover Cup tournament at the par -72, 6,209-yard Longbow Golf Club. The 54-hole tournament will be played March 16-18 with a practice round set for March 15. The 13-team field includes: Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida International, Furman, Iowa State, Michigan, Minnesota, Northern Colorado, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, SMU, Tulsa and Texas Tech.