March 30, 2016
By Chris Masters
Dates: April 1-3, 2016
Format: 54 holes (18 holes Friday-Sunday)
Tee Times: 8:30 a.m. ET each day (split-tee starts on Friday-Saturday; shotgun start Sunday)
Location: Browns Summit, North Carolina
Course (Par/Yardage): Bryan Park – Champions Course (par 72/6,386 yards)
Tournament Field (in order of latest Golfstat ranking): Virginia (20), Florida State (21), East Carolina (28), South Carolina (30), North Carolina State (31), Miami (Fla.) (37), NOTRE DAME (38), North Carolina (45), Michigan (48), Wake Forest (49 - tournament co-host), UCF (65), Kentucky (79), Penn State (87), Cal State Fullerton (128) and UNC Greensboro (203 - tournament co-host).
Notre Dame Lineup (2015-16 stroke average): Talia Campbell (73.09), Jordan Ferreira (75.13), Emma Albrecht (73.83), Maddie Rose Hamilton (75.04), Isabella DiLisio (74.13)
Live Scoring: Golfstat.com
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — What’s an 11-letter word that perfectly describes what lies ahead for the University of Notre Dame women’s golf team this weekend at the Bryan National Collegiate?
The Fighting Irish have a chance to cash on some golden opportunities as they hit the links Friday for the first round on the Bryan Park Champions Course (par 72/6,386 yards) in suburban Greensboro, North Carolina. It will be Notre Dame’s final tournament before the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship that will be played April 15-17, also in Greensboro.
The most pressing of the Fighting Irish opportunities this weekend will be the ability to erase the bitter taste of a difficult performance at the LSU Tiger Classic 10 days ago. Notre Dame finished 11th at the event after shooting 934 (+70), its lowest placement and highest team score in 18 tournaments, dating back to the 2014 NCAA West Regional.
It was a surprising and uncharacteristic result for a Fighting Irish squad that has made a habit of setting program records this year. In fact, even with its hiccup at LSU, Notre Dame still owns a 293.57 season stroke average that is more than three shots ahead of the school record (296.60) set last year.
Another opportunity for the Fighting Irish at the Bryan National Collegiate will be the chance to build momentum heading into the aforementioned ACC Championship. Notre Dame already has the third-lowest stroke average of any conference team this season and has a winning or even head-to-head record against six of the other nine ACC squads it has played to date. Both of those figures could be strengthened with a sharp performance at the Bryan, which counts seven ACC schools (including Notre Dame) among its 15-team field.
On a similar note, the Fighting Irish have the potential to enhance their overall postseason resume this weekend. Ten of the top 50 teams in the latest Golfstat rankings will be in action at Greensboro, including seven squads that are in close proximity to No. 38 Notre Dame (within 11 places above or below).
“We’re looking forward to getting to Bryan Park so our players can redeem themselves after a tough finish at LSU,” Fighting Irish head coach Susan Holt said. “We have resilient players that will bounce back. They have all been able to focus on the weaknesses of their respective games that were exposed at LSU. As a result, they have all gotten their confidence back this past week and are ready to go out and compete this weekend.”
When teams go through challenging stretches in their season, it’s often best to lean on veteran leadership to help turn the tide and that’s what Notre Dame will do at the Bryan National Collegiate, as two upperclass players will pace the Fighting Irish lineup.
Senior captain Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) has emerged as one of the top players in the ACC, currently ranking 10th in the conference with a career-low 73.09 stroke average this season. She also has placed in the top 20 in seven of Notre Dame’s eight tournaments (including four top-10 outings) and is coming off a team-leading tie for 14th place (228/+12) at the LSU Tiger Classic.
Junior Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) moves up into the No. 2 position for the Fighting Irish after her best performance of the spring season, a 31st-place tie at LSU (232/+16). Ferreira has posted a 75.13 stroke average this season with three top-25 finishes to her credit.
Campbell and Ferreira have experienced success on the Bryan Park layout, with both players placing in the top 15 at last year’s Bryan National Collegiate in Notre Dame’s first appearance at the tournament. Campbell tied for sixth place (222/+6) while playing her final two rounds at even par, and Ferreira earned a share of 14th place (225/+9) after spending much of the tournament in the top 10.
Freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) has been steady and reliable all season long, currently ranking second on the team with a 73.83 stroke average. Albrecht has seen her score count in all 17 rounds as a starter this year and has lowered her 54-hole career best scoring total in three of the past four tournaments, highlighted by a two-over par 218 and 12th-place tie at the Clover Cup on March 11-13 in Mesa, Arizona.
Albrecht’s fellow rookie, Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) has likewise been a fixture in the Notre Dame lineup much of the season, standing fourth on the squad with a 75.04 stroke average. Hamilton is the proverbial lightning in a bottle for the Fighting Irish, with the ability to shoot very low scores at any time. In fact, she is one of three Notre Dame players with multiple rounds in the 60s this season, including a closing 69 at the Clover Cup.
If there’s one golfer on the Fighting Irish roster who is itching to get back on the course more than any other, it’s freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy), who is third on the team with a 74.13 stroke average and has four top-10 finishes on her resume.
Prior to the LSU Tiger Classic, DiLisio also had seen all but two of her 20 rounds count to the team score, with nine of those marks coming in at par or better, including a team-high eight rounds below par and four in the 60s. Yet, the tricky combination of swirling winds, a difficult course and lingering back trouble gave DiLisio problems at LSU, and the rookie will be highly motivated this weekend as she aims to put an 80th-place finish (247/+31) far in the rearview mirror.
Wake Forest will provide live scoring of the Bryan National Collegiate through the Golfstat web site (Golfstat.com), with in-progress updates also provided through the Fighting Irish women’s golf Twitter feed (@NDwomensGolf).
For more information on the Notre Dame women's golf program, visit the women's golf page of 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.
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).