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    Irish Women's Golf Looking For Second Consecutive BIG EAST Title

    FIGHTING IRISH Annie Brophy won individual medalist honors at last season's BIG EAST Championship.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Annie Brophy won individual medalist honors at last season's BIG EAST Championship.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    April 15, 2009

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -

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    The Notre Dame women's golf team will pursue the program's fourth conference title when play begins at the 2009 BIG EAST Championship on Sunday, April 19 at the par 72, 5,968-yard Lake Jovita Golf Club in Dade City, Fla. The Fighting Irish enter the three-day, 54-hole event as the second seed in the seven-team field.

    This season marks the seventh BIG EAST women's golf championship. For the second consecutive year, the winner of the championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. In addition to Notre Dame, the six other teams comprising the field are (BIG EAST tournament seed/Golfstat ranking) Louisville (1/15), Cincinnati (5/132), St. John's (6/143), Georgetown (4/109), South Florida (3/76) and Rutgers (7/198).

    The tournament will include 54 holes, with each day consisting of one 18-hole round. Each team's lineup will include five golfers; with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score for that day. All three days of play will begin with groups teeing off at 8:20 a.m. On Sunday and Monday, everyone will start at the first hole, with tee times running through 10:20 a.m. Then for the final round, there will be a split-tee start that runs through 8:40 a.m. The teams will be reseeded for play on Monday and Tuesday based on their scores from the previous round. The top-10 individual finishers will be selected as members of the 2009 all-BIG EAST Team.

    Notre Dame's probable lineup includes senior captain Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Parkside Collegiate Institute), juniors Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) and Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep), sophomore So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep) and freshman Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton HS).

    Following The Irish At The Championship Daily recaps will be posted at und.com, while complete results and updated tee times will be posted on www.bigeast.org. Live scoring of the championship will be available through www.Golfstat.com.

    The Course The 2009 BIG EAST Championship returns to Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City, Fla. The 2006 BIG EAST Championship was also held at Lake Jovita, with Notre Dame finishing tied with South Florida in third place that year. As was the case in 2006, USF will serve as the host institution for the 2009 Championship. Current senior captain Lisa Maunu appeared in the 2006 event, finishing 27th. She shot a +24 (240) that included an impressive final round minus-one 71.

    BIG EAST History Notre Dame captured the first-ever BIG EAST Championship in 2003 by topping runner-up Miami by 44 strokes. The Irish followed up with another title in 2004, winning by 14 shots over Miami. St. John's took the 2005 tournament, which was shortened from 54 to 18 holes due to poor weather conditions. The Red Storm finished seven strokes ahead of Georgetown. In 2006, Louisville bested runner-up Georgetown by 21 and followed up with a one shot win over Notre Dame in 2007. The two teams were tied after the 54 holes, but the Cardinals prevailed on the first playoff hole. Last year, Notre Dame captured the program's third BIG EAST title, finishing nine strokes ahead of Louisville. Annie Brophy took home medalist honors as she shot three consecutive rounds of 74 for a plus-six 222.

    UND At The 2008 Championship Last year, Notre Dame captured the program's third BIG EAST title, finishing nine strokes ahead of Louisville. Annie Brophy took home medalist honors as she shot three consecutive rounds of 74 for a 222/+6. Joining Brophy on the all-BIG EAST team were So-Hyun Park, Lisa Maunu and Kristin Wetzel. Park finished two stokes behind Brophy to finish second overall (224/+8), while Maunu and Wetzel finished tied for fourth (227/+11). It marked the second consecutive year that Notre Dame fielded four all-conference performers, as Brophy, Noriko Nakazaki, Julie Kim and Maunu all finished in the top-10 at the 2007 BIG EAST Championship.

    League Honors The Irish boast three BIG EAST medalists in Katie Brophy, Karen Lotta and Annie Brophy. Katie Brophy tied for first as a freshman at the 2003 tournament, while Lotta did the same at the 2005 event during her senior campaign. Last year Annie Brophy, the younger sister of Katie, captured the title as a sophomore. All told, the Irish have combined for 19 all-BIG EAST honors since the tournament began in 2003. Noriko Nakazaki, a 2007 Notre Dame graduate, is the program record holder with four all-conference accolades.

    Last Time Out The Irish tied for 14th-place at the Bryan National Collegiate as the team shot a final round 315 (27 over par) on the Champions Course. The upperclassmen led the way for the Irish in the third round as senior captain Lisa Maunu and junior Annie Brophy each carded plus-six marks of 78.

    Maunu and Brophy shot identical 17 over-par scores of 233 for the tournament and the duo finished in a tie for 52nd. For the weekend, Brophy carded a minus five mark on the tournament's 12 par fives to tie for the second best combined score at the event for par five play.

    Freshman Becca Huffer also scored for the Irish in round three, carding a seven over par-79. With a three round total of 231, Huffer was Notre Dame's best finisher as she finished in a tie for 43rd.

    Sophomore So-Hyun Park registered a third round score of plus-eight 80 to round out the third round scoring for the Irish. She finished tied for 69th with a plus-21 (237) mark for the tournament. Sophomore Katie Conway posted a plus-nine 81 in her final round, giving her a three-day total of 240. The 24-over par mark placed her tied for 76th.

    Versus The BIG EAST Field During the 2008-09 season, the Irish played in tournaments versus South Florida (once) and Louisville on two occasions. In Notre Dame's first tournament of the season on Sept. 14-16, the Irish finished with an +22/886 at the Cougar Classic in Charleston, South Carolina, good for an eighth-place finish. South Florida finished 44 strokes behind the Irish (+66/930) in 20th. The Irish next came up against BIG EAST opposition at the LSU Classic in Baton Rouge, La. on March 13-15. Louisville finished tied for fifth (+6/870), while the Irish were 15 strokes back, finishing in 12th (+21/885). The Irish and Cardinals then met at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C. on April 3-5. Louisville again finished ahead of the Irish. The Cardinals shot a 910 to finish seventh, while Notre Dame tied for 14th with a 933.

    The Sunshine State The Irish have played all across the state of Florida in recent years, including stops in Bonita Bay, Miami, Orlando, Palm Harbor, Port St. Lucie and Tampa. All-time, only one Sunshine State native has teed it up for the Irish, namely 2001 graduate Shane Smith of St. Petersburgh, Fla. Smith served as the Irish team captain for the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Current Irish sophomore So-Hyun Park played her high school golf at Bradenton Prep in Bradenton, Fla.

    Next Up Selections for the 2009 NCAA Women's Golf Championship will be announced on Monday, April 27. Sixty-three teams will get the invite, as will nine individuals on non-qualifying teams. The team (and individuals) will be divided among three regional sites for NCAA Regional competition, taking place May 7-9. The East Regional will take place at the University of Florida Golf Club inGainesville, Florida with the University of Florida serving as the host. The West Regional will take place at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Arizona. Arizona State University will serve as the host institution. The Central Regional will be played on the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.; with Ohio State University as the host. The top eight teams from each regional advance to the NCAA Championship, taking place May 19-22 in Owings Mills, Md.

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