March 29, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
BACK INTO ACTION:The Notre Dame women's golf team returns to action this weekend when the Irish travel to Athens, Ga., to participate in the 40th Annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, March 30-April 1. The 17-team field will compete at the par-72, 6,335-yard University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic is one of the nation's oldest continuous sporting events in women's athletics and is named in honor of former University of Georgia women's golf coach and senior women's administrator, Liz Murphey, who was the program's first coach from 1967-87. She passed away on Nov. 23, 2005. This is Notre Dame's second appearance in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic as the Irish eighth last April, playing a best-ball format and finishing with a 54-hole total of 872 (+8). This year's tournament features a challenging field and includes six teams - Alabama (2), Auburn (7), Georgia (12), Florida (16), Michigan State (23) and Florida State (25) - currently ranked in the top 25 of Golfweek's most recent (March 25) weekly poll with 13 of the 17 teams ranked in the top 50.
Name: 2012 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic (hosted by the University of Georgia)
Course: University of Georgia Golf Course (par 72, 6,335 yards)
Robert Trent Jones-designed course in Athens, Ga.
Field: 17 teams (2012 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings as of March 25, 2012):
Alabama (2), Auburn (7), Georgia (12), Florida (16), Michigan State (23),
Florida State (25), Oklahoma (26), South Carolina (27), Virginia (28),
Purdue (33), Arkansas (36), Denver (40), Wake Forest (47), Kent State
(53), Notre Dame (56), Augusta State (61), Missouri (91).
Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. Results also will be available on the University of Georgia website (www.georgiadogs.com) 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 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic will be played on the University of Georgia Golf Course located in Athens, Ga. The par-72, 6335-yard layout opened in 1968 and was designed by famed golf architect Robert Trent Jones. The home of the Bulldogs' men and women's teams, the UGA Golf Course has been rated by Golf Digest among the top 50 public courses in the nation. The course has a long and storied history hosting collegiate events. The 1998 SEC Men's Championships were contested on the UGA Course, which also will host an NCAA Men's Regional in 2012. The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic is one of the longest running intercollegiate women's competitions in any sport, dating back to 1973. Additional women's events UGA has hosted at the course include the 1981 AIAW National Championships, the 1983 and 1993 NCAA Championships, the 2002 SEC Championships and the 2008 NCAA East Regional. The layout also will serve as site of the 2013 NCAA Championships.
WEATHER OUTLOOK: The weather forecast for Athens, Ga., and the 40th Liz Murphey Collegiate Golf Classic looks like this: Friday, March 30 - Partly cloudy, high of 83, 10% chance of rain; Saturday, March 31 - Scattered thunderstorms, high of 78, 50% chance of rain; Sunday, April 1 - Morning clouds, high of 83 with 20% chance of rain.
2011 LIZ MURPHEY COLLEGIATE CLASSIC: Notre Dame made it's first-ever appearance in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in April of 2011 and finished eighth in the tournament with an 872 total ( 302-286-284). The tourney used a best-ball format to decide the team championship with Alabama winning the event. Two members of this year's squad - senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) played in the 2011 event. Huffer tied for 63rd with a three-round total of 16-over par 232 (78-76-78) while Nhim tied for 73rd in the field, just one stroke behind Huffer with a 17-over 233 (82-77-74). Nicole Zhang was Notre Dame's top finisher as she tied for 15th with an eight-over par 222 (78-75-71).
IRISH LINEUP: Notre Dame's five-player lineup includes: Becca Huffer Kristina Nhim, Ashley Armstrong (Fr., Flossmoor, Ill.), Kelli Oride (Fr., Lihue, Hawaii) and Katie Allare (Sr., Phoenix, Ariz.). Huffer is a three time all-BIG EAST selection who leads Notre Dame through the first seven tournaments of the 2011-12 season with a 75.35 average. She is followed by Armstrong who owns a 76.30 average in her freshman year. Nhim is third on the squad as she has turned in a 77.60 average in 20 rounds this season. Oride is fourth with a 78.95 mark and is followed by Allare who checks in with an 81.20 mark for the year.
TEE TIMES: Tee times for the Notre Dame women's golf team have been announced for the opening round on Friday, March 30 at the University of Georgia Golf Course. The Irish will start on the 10th tee at 10:40 a.m. with golfers from Augusta State and Georgia's "B" team. Katie Allare will start at 10:40 a.m. and will be followed by Kelly Oride at 10:50 a.m., Ashley Armstrong at 11:00 a.m., Kristina Nhim at 11:10 a.m. and Becca Huffer at 11:20 a.m. Saturday's round will also have teams go in waves starting on holes one and 10 with Sunday's final round scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. shotgun start.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame last played the weekend of March 16-18, hosting the Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. The Irish tied for fifth in the 12-team field with Minnesota after shooting rounds of 288, 296 and 324 for a 54-hole total of 908. They finished 53 strokes behind tournament-winner Colorado as the Buffs shot a nine-under par total of 855. Senior Becca Huffer led Notre Dame's lineup as she tied for eighth overall after firing a five-over par 221. Huffer had rounds of 72, 74 and 74 on the weekend. Kristina Nhim tied for 15th with an eight-over par mark of 224 (72-72-80), getting off to a strong start with back-to-back even par days of 72. Third among Irish golfers was freshman Ashley Armstrong who tied for 16th, one stroke behind Nhim with a nine-over par 225. Included in her 54 holes was a five-under par 67 in the opening round to go with a 74 and 84. Fellow freshman Kelli Oride tied for 44th with a 236 total and Katie Allare was 63rd overall with a 248 tally.
HOT START: Freshman Ashley Armstrong got off to a fast start in the opening round of the Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament on March 16, firing a five-under par 67 for the lowest round of her young Notre Dame career. The 67 also tied her for the third-lowest round in the program's history. Only So-Hyun Park `11 and Lisa Maunu `09, with six-under par 66s, have had lower rounds than Armstrong. The Illinois native's 67 tied Nicole Zhang's mark of 67 that was the last round that low for the Irish and set during the Mary Fossum Invitational in September of 2010. Armstrong's 67 was four strokes better than her previous low score. She opened her round with a four-under par 32 on the Longbow Golf Club's front nine and then shot one-under 35 on the back.
LEVEL PAR: Notre Dame fired an opening-round of even-par 288 in the first round of the 2012 Notre Dame Clover Cup on March 16 at the par-72, 6,209 Longbow Golf Club. The 288-total marks just the eighth even-par or better round fired by the Notre Dame women's golf team. The all-time low total is a seven-under par 281 at the Heather Farr Memorial (2008-09). The Irish also have had a three-under par 285 at the Cougar Classic (2003-04) and a 287 (one-under par) at the 2007-08 Cougar Classic. The 288 was the fifth time that a Notre Dame women's squad fired an even-par 288 in a tournament. Prior to the Clover Cup, the last time the Irish shot an even par 288 was the third round of the 2010 Mercedes Benz Championship.
PAR OR BETTER: After having just three rounds of par or better for the 2011-12 season through the first six tournaments, Notre Dame golfers had four in the 2012 Notre Dame Clover Cup. Freshman Ashley Armstrong led the way with her five-under par 67 in the opening round. Senior Becca Huffer fired an opening round 72 and sophomore Kristina Nhim had back-to-back rounds of even-par 72 in the first and second rounds.
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. So far this spring, the Irish have a 13th-place finish at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, a 10th at the LSU Tiger Classic and a tie for fifth at the Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament.
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 her best finish of the spring as she tied for eighth at the Notre Dame Clover Cup with a five-under par 221, her second lowest score of the season. For the season, she owns the team's lowest average with a 75.35 average after 20 rounds. She opened the spring with a tie for 43rd at the Darius Rucker Invitational and a tie for 2rd at the LSU Tiger Classic. In the fall, she led the Irish with a 75.16 average while 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. In 40 career tournaments, covering 120 rounds, the industrial design major owns a 75.18 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 are in 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. The Warren also was rated as the sixth best course in the state of Indiana in Golfweek's 2012 Best Courses State-by-State rankings.
NEXT FOR THE IRISH: Following this week's trip to Athens, Ga., for the 40th Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, the Irish will not return to the course until April 22-24 when they participate in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The Irish go into the BIG EAST Tournament as the defending champions after winning the conference championship in 2011.