April 19, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Tournament Information Date: April 22-24, 2012 Place: Orlando, Fla.BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP The Notre Dame women's golf team makes its 10th appearance in the BIG EAST Championship beginning on Sunday, April 22 at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The Irish, along with Georgetown, are the only two BIG EAST programs to appear in all 10 BIG EAST Championships since the conference started sponsoring women's golf in the 2002-03 season. Notre Dame has won the tournament four times, taking the title in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011. The Irish will look to defend their 2011 title, a 13-stroke win over Louisville, that took place at the Innisbrook Resort Island Course in Palm Harbor, Fla. Notre Dame shot a 38-over par 902 in the 54-hole tournament. Two members of the current Irish roster participated in last year's tournament - sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) was the team's top finisher with a six-over par 222, and finished third, while senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) was fourth with a seven-over par 223. Both golfers were named all-BIG EAST for the 2010-11 season. This year's tournament features two teams ranked among the nation's top 50 in Golfstat's most recent rankings (April 18) led by South Florida (49) and followed by Notre Dame (50).
Course Information Course: Reunion Resort and Golf Club Par/Yardage: Par 72, 6,319 yards
Media Coverage/Statistics Livestats: Live scoring at golfstat.com Websites: bigeast.org or UND.com
Participants (Rank): South Florida (49), Notre Dame (50), Louisville (63), St. John's (130), Georgetown (135), Cincinnati (136), Rutgers (155), Seton Hall (163).
(Rankings are from Golfstat Rankings as of April 18, 2012)
THE COURSE The 2012 BIG EAST Championship will be played on the Tom Watson-designed course at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The par-72, 6,319-yard layout is one of three courses at the resort designed by golfing legends Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer. The Watson designed course is highlighted by fast, firm and wide rolling fairways, a variety of strategically placed bunkers and large greens. The Watson course will also serve as the site of the 2012 BIG EAST Men's Golf Championship, April 29-May 1. The women's tournament will begin with a practice round on Saturday, April 21 with competition beginning on Sunday, April 22 with 18 holes per day.
WEATHER REPORT The weather forecast for Orlando, Fla., from April 21 through April 24 looks like this: Saturday, April 21 - Potential for severe thunderstorms (60% chance of rain) and a high of 82; Sunday, April 22 - Thunderstorms (70% chance of rain) and a high of 81; Monday, April 23 - Partly cloudy (10% chance of rain) and 80; Tuesday, April 24 - Sunny (0% chance of rain) and a high of 80.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS In the first nine years of the BIG EAST women's golf championship, four Notre Dame golfers have taken medalist honors. Katie Brophy `06 was co-medalist of the 2003 championship as was Karen Lotta `05 in 2005. Annie Brophy `10 won the 2008 championship and Lisa Maunu `09 was the 2009 medalist.
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 eight tournaments of the 2011-12 season with a 75.26 average. She is followed by Armstrong who owns a 75.74 average in her freshman year. Nhim is third on the squad as she has turned in a 77.13 average in 23 rounds this season. Oride is fourth with a 78.65 mark and is followed by Allare who checks in with an 80.82 mark for the year.
TEE TIMES Tee times for the BIG EAST Championship have been announced for Sunday's opening round with the team seedings based on the Golfstat rankings as of April 18. South Florida is the top seed with Notre Dame number two and Louisville number three. The Irish will play in threesomes with players from South Florida and Louisville and will begin play on the first tee beginning at 9:40 a.m., Sunday morning.
GOING FOR A FOURTH Senior Becca Huffer will play in her final BIG EAST Championship this weekend and is looking to become the third Notre Dame women's golfer to be named all-BIG EAST in all four seasons of competition. A three-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer will look to join Noriko Nakazaki '07 and Annie Brophy '10 who were all-BIG EAST selections in all four of their seasons at Notre Dame.
FORMER HOSTS The University of Notre Dame hosted the first three BIG EAST Championships at the on-campus, Warren Golf Course. The Irish played host in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Four of the last six championships have been hosted in Florida with Kentucky and Ohio hosting one each.
LAST TIME OUT The BIG EAST Championship is the first action for the Notre Dame women's golf team since April 1 when the Irish finished 10th in a field of 18 at the 40th Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic with a 54-hole total of 28-over par 892. That was the lowest 54-hole total for the Irish this season and the best mark since firing an 888 total on March 21-22, 2011 at the John Kirk/Panther Invitational. Notre Dame finished 38 strokes behind tournament champion, Alabama, in a tourney that featured 13 teams ranked in the nation's top 50. Freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) paced the Irish with a season-best, three-round mark of even-par 216 to tie for 13th in the field of 90. Armstrong's tournament featured rounds of 72, 70 and 74. She finished seven strokes behind tournament winner, Jennifer Kirby, of Alabam who shot a seven-under 209. Sophomore Kristina Nhim was second among Notre Dame golfers with her best mark of the year, shooting a six-over par 222 to finish in a tie for 29th. Senior Becca Huffer was third among the Irish fivesome two strokes behind Nhim with an eight-over par 224 that tied her for 40th in the field. Freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) finished in a tie for 59th with her 54-hole total of 14-over par 230 while senior Katie Allare (Phoeniz, Ariz.) tied for 78th with a 235 total after rounds of 77, 81 and 77 to round out the Irish lineup.
BIG EAST GOLFER OF THE WEEK Freshman golfer Ashley Armstrong was named the BIG EAST women's golfer of the week for the week ending April 8th for her performance in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. Armstrong was Notre Dame's top finisher as she tied for 13th, turning in a career-best 54-hole total of even-par 216 in the 90-player field. That helped the Irish to a 10th-place finish in a field of 18 teams. The talented rookie opened the tournament with an even-par round of 72 on Friday, March 30 and followed that with a 70 in Saturday's second round to move into a tie for ninth with four other golfers with a two-under par 142 through 36 holes. In the final round on Sunday, April 1, Armstrong finished with a two-over par 74 for her 216 total. That put her seven strokes behind the tournament winner, Jennifer Kirby of Alabama, who was seven-under par with a 209 total. The tie for 13th was Armstrong's best finish of her young career and she now has five top-25 finishes in eight tournaments this year. Her two rounds of 72 and 70 give her four rounds this season of par or better golf.
THE CAPTAIN Senior Becca Huffer serves as the Notre Dame team captain for the 2011-12 season. A three-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer leads the Irish with a 75.26 stroke average this season. That mark is the sixth-best single-season stroke average in the program's history and gives Huffer four of the top 10 single-season marks at Notre Dame. In 48 career tournaments, covering 123 rounds, the industrial design major owns a 75.16 career stroke average that is second best in the program's history. During the fall, she won her first tournament at Notre Dame - the Hoosier Fall Invitational (Oct. 17-18) with a four-over par, 54-hole total of 220. She has three top 10 finishes and four top 25 finishes this season. 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. 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.
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, 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.
ON A ROLL Sophomore Kristina Nhim is playing her best golf of the season as the Irish move into the BIG EAST Championship. over the last two tournaments for the Irish. At the Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament in Mesa, Ariz., from March 16-18, Nhim was second among Irish golfers with an eight-over par 224 to tie for 15th in the tournament. There, she fired back-to-back rounds of even-par 72 before a third round of 80 gave her the 224 total. From March 30 to April 1 at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, Nhim tied for 28th with a six-over par 222 with rounds of 77, 71 and 74. The 71 was the best single round of her career and the 222 total was her second-best 54-hole mark. She has three rounds of par or better this season.
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 have gotten hot over the last two tournaments adding seven more par-or-better rounds to the stat sheet. Ashley Armstrong leads the way with four on the season, one in the fall and three in the last two tournaments. She fired a five-under par 67 in the opening round of the Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament and then had back-to-back rounds of 72 and 70 at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic for her three in the last two tournaments. Kristina Nhim has all three of her par-or-better rounds in the last two tournaments, shooting back-to-back rounds of 72 at the Notre Dame Clover Cup and a one-under par 71 at the Liz Murphey Classic. Becca Huffer had two of her three par-or-better rounds in the fall and then fired an opening round 72 at the Notre Dame Clover Cup tournament for her three rounds of par-or-better this season.
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. Armstrong goes into the BIG EAST Tournament with an average of 75.74 for 23 rounds and is second on the Irish in scoring average. Oride is fourth among the Notre Dame golfers with a 78.65 average in 23 rounds. Her best finish came in the fall at the Hoosier Fall Invitational when she tied for fourth with a nine-over par 225.
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.
RECRUITS Notre Dame women's golf head coach Susan Holt will welcome a pair of highly touted recruits to campus in August of 2012 as Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas) and Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) have signed national letters-of-intent. 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 seven years and has her name throughout the AJGA record book. She is tied for 12th all-time with eight career wins and holds the record for most years with a win (7) and consecutive years with a win (7), breaking a tie 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. This spring, Weaver has continued to set records. During the first weekend of April, Weaver won her record eighth AJGA Tournament, taking the AJGA Winn Gripps Heather Farr Classic at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz., with a playoff win. On the way, she set a women's course record for Longbow, shooting a seven-under par 64 in the final round to finish with a seven-under par 206. On Feb. 26, at the Apache Course at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., she posted a 59 in a PING Junior Interclub match. The 59 is just the second shot by a female golfer as she follows a 59 that was shot in 2001 by women's Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam at the Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix.
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 the BIG EAST Championship, the Irish will look to advance to the NCAA Regionals that will be held at three regional sites, May 10-12 - East Regional at The Penn State Blue Course at State College, Pa.; the Central Regional at the Scarlet Course at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio and the West Regional at Colorado Nationals Golf Course in Erie, Colorado. The Irish can advance by winning the BIG EAST Championship or be selected by the NCAA golf committee on April 30th.