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    Notre Dame Continues Impressive Spring

    News and notes for Irish squads.

    April 24, 1998

    * Women wrap up regular season at Ohio State
    * Melby's runner-up showing leads women to share of Illinois Classic title
    * Men finish regular season with sixth-place showing at Kepler
    * Kent, Vernon and Connell cap strong spring for Irish men
    * King, Melby winding down top careers in Irish women's golf history

    IRISH WOMEN WRAP UP REGULAR SEASON AT OHIO STATE: The Notre Dame women's golf team and individuals will be looking to boost their chances for an NCAA Tournament bid this week at the Ohio State Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, to be held April 25-26 at the OSU Scarlet Golf Course ... the Irish women are coming off a share of the team title at the Illinois Spring Classic, led by senior Tracy Melby's runner-up showing.

    THE COURSE: The Lady Buckeye will be played on the par-72, 6,037-yard OSU Scarlet Golf Course.

    THE FIELD: In addition to Notre Dame and the host team, the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational will include Northwestern, Ohio University, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin and Xavier.

    TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Arizona captured the 1996 Lady Buckeye total with a two-round total of 629 while Indiana's Erica Wicoff totaled a 151 to take individual medalist honors.

    MEN SURGE TO SIXTH AT OSU (4/18-19): The Notre Dame men's golf team made a final statement in its bid to qualify for the NCAAs by surging to 6th place among 16 of the district's top teams at the 29th Ohio State Kepler Intercollegiate ... the finish is the 2nd-highest for the Irish in 24 appearances at the Kepler, trailing only a 4th-place showing out of 26 teams in 1978 ... Notre Dame was 6th after an opening-round 298 before slipping to 7th with an afternoon round of 303 ... the Irish bounced back at the par-72, 7,109-yard OSU Scarlet Golf Course, with a round of 294 for an 895 total ... junior Willie Kent (76-76-69) and sophomore Todd Vernon (75-73-73) tied for 14th among the 82-golfer field while surging sophomore Jeff Connell (72-77-75) was not far behind at 224 ...

    Kent joined two other golfers in firing the 2nd-best round of the tournament (three-under 69), trailing only the 1st-round 68 by OSU's Ryan Armour ... senior Brad Stanis (75-79-77) counted towards the Irish score in the 1st and 3rd rounds while senior captain Bryan Weeks (78-77-81) concluded a frustrating tournament in which he counted only in the 2nd round (he had counted in 22 of the previous 24 rounds of 1997-98) ... the uncharacteristic showing equaled the 3rd-highest 54-hole total in Weeks' Irish career (25 tournaments), trailing only a 240 at the challenging fall of '96 San Francisco Invitational (held at the Olympic Club Lake Course) and a 237 at the spring of '95 Kent State Invitational.

    TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Ohio State 280-285-298/863; 2. Northwestern 299-291-288/878; 3. Miami (OH) 294-294-295/883; 4. Toledo 294-297-296/887; 5. Illinois 292-302-295/889; 6. Notre Dame 298-303-294/895; 7. Purdue 303-300-297/900; 8. Indiana 300-302-300/902; 9. Michigan State 307-304-292/903; 10. Ball State 296-308-300/904; Kent 300-303-301/904; 12. Michigan 301-295-301/904; 13. Wisconsin 307-305-299/911; 14. Marshall 299-313-309/921; 15. Iowa 311-311-307/929; 16. Ohio 304-317-309/930.

    TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 82): 1. Tee McCabe, MIA, 71-70-69/210; 2. Craig Matthew, OSU, 70-69-72/211; 3. Luke Donald, NW, 75-70-70/215; 4. Ryan Armour, OSU, 68-73-75/216; 5. Mark Henderson, ILL, 73-72-72/217; 6. Kyle Voska, MIA, 72-73-73/218; Matt Riegel, MSU, 76-72-70/218; 8. Randy Leen, IU, 72-72-75/219; Jon Mills, KENT, 72-77-70/219; Jess Daley, NW, 74-74-71/219; Mike Austin, OSU, 70-73-76/219.

    ND SCORES: 14. Todd Vernon 75-73-73/221; 14. Willie Kent 76-76-69/221; 23. Jeff Connell 72-77-75/224; 50. Brad Stanis 75-79-77/231; 70. Bryan Weeks 78-77-81/236.

    MELBY LEADS WOMEN TO SHARE OF ILLINI CLASSIC TITLE (4/19-19): The Notre Dame women's golf team finished in a 1st-place tie with the host team at the 16-team Illini Spring Classic while senior co-captain Tracy Melby came up just short in her bid to repeat as the tournament medalist, finishing a shot behind Toledo's Jessica Popiel at the par-75, 5-840-yard University of Illinois Orange Course ...

    Notre Dame held a 5-stroke lead on the Illini after a first-day 303, which ranks 3rd in Irish history behind two other rounds during '97-'98: a 295 (+7) at the Midwest Classic and a 302 (+14) at the Kentucky Intercollegiate ... the +3 team round represents the best round to par in the program's history ... Illinois--which edged the Irish by two strokes for the title of the '97 Illini Spring Classic--stormed to a final-round 327 while the Irish slipped to a 332, forging a tie at 635 ...

    Melby--who won last year's event with a seven-over 153 (the course then was a par 73)--held a two-shot lead on Popiel after an opening-round 71 ... Melby slipped to an 81 while Popiel turned in a 78 to claim 1st place among the 92-golfer field ...

    Melby's opening-round 71 (-4) equaled the Irish record for low round while setting a new standard for lowest round to par ... senior co-captain Katie King used rounds of 77 and 81 to post her fourth top-five finish of 1997-98 and third of the spring, tying for 5th at 158 ... freshman Mary Klein added a round of 86 to her opening 77 to finish tied for 13th at 163 while sophomore Andrea Klee finished tied for 15th with rounds of 78-86/164 ... freshman Becca Schloss counted to the team score with a second-round 84, after firing an opening 90.

      
    

    TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Notre Dame 303-332/635; Illinois 308-327/635; 3. Toledo 323-323/646; 4. Northern Illinois 328-329/657; 5. Tri-State 340-323/663; 6. Bowling Green 334-333/667; 7. Eastern Michigan 334-344/678; 8. Missouri-Kansas City 338-342/680; 9. Franklin 340-346/686; 10. Xavier 339-348/687; 11. Indianapolis 351-356/707; 12. Grand Valley State 361-353/714; 13. Truman State 356-359/715; 14. Oakland 350-366/716; 15. Lewis 358-373/731; 16. DePauw 386-382/768.

    TOP INDIVIDUALS: (of 89): 1. Jessica Popiel, TOL, 73-78/151; 2. Tracy Melby, ND, 71-81/152; 3. Karen Karmazin, ILL, 76-77/153; 4. Jessica Hayes, ILL, 74-82/156; 5. Stephanie Smoot, EMU, 78-80/158; Katie King, ND, 77-81/158; 7. Molly Eckols, ILL, 82-77/159; 8. Janell Howland 81-79/160; 9. Kara Soderberg, NIU, 80-81/161; Carey Farmer, UMKC, 80-81/161; Katie Jordan, TOL, 80-81/161.

    OTHER ND SCORES: 13. Mary Klein 77-86/163; 15. Andrea Klee 78-86/164; 34. Beth Cooper (ind.) 85-85/170; 50. Becca Schloss 90-84/174; 74. Brigid Fisher (ind.) 90-95/185.

    CAREER STROKE AVERAGE 1. Katie King (1995- ) 81.63 2. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 82.03

    SEASON STROKE AVERAGE 1. Katie King (1997-98) 79.95 2. Katie King (1996-97) 80.17 3. Andrea Klee (1997-98) 80.53 4. Alicia Murray (1993-94) 80.68 5. Tracy Melby (1997-68) 81.32

    CAREER ROUNDS COUNTED 1. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 76 Katie King (1995-) 76 CAREER PCT. OF ROUNDS COUNTED 1. Kathy Phares (1990-93) 97.1 (66/68) 2. Allison Wojnas (1989-92) 88.1 (52/59) 3. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 86.5 (76/88) Katie King (1995-) 86.4 (76/88)

    SEASON PCT. OF ROUNDS COUNTED 1. Kathy Phares (1992-93) 100.0 (21/21) Katie King (1995-96) 100.0 (20/20) Kathy Phares (1990-91) 100.0 (20/20) Andrea Klee (1997-98) 100.0 (19/19) TEAM-LEADING TOURNAMENTS 1. Kathy Phares (1987-90) 17 2. Katie King (1995-) 13 3. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 11 Crissy Klein (1991-94) 11

    LOW 36-HOLE TOURNAMENTS 1. K. King, Midwest Cl. ('97-'98) 149/+5 2. K. King, NIU Inter. ('97-'98) 150/+6 3. A. Klee, Midwest Cl. ('97-'98) 151/+7 4. Tracy Melby, Ill. Invit. ('96-'97) 154/+7 Alicia Murray ('93-'94) 154/+10 6. T. Melby, Midwest Cl. ('97-'98) 155/+11 LOW 54-HOLE TOURNAMENTS 1. Alicia Murray (1993-94) 224/+11 2. Allison Wojnas (1991-92) 226/+13 3. Katie King, Ky. Invit. ('97-'98) 227/+11 4. K. King, ISU Classic ('96-'97) 229/+10 5. M. Klein ('97-'98), IU Invit. 230/+8 6. Crissy Klein (1991-92) 232/+19 7. T. Melby, ISU Classic ('96-'97) 233/+14

    Women's Golf Looks To NCAAs
    by Pete LaFleur

    The Notre Dame women's golf program, in the midst of its 10th season as a varsity sport, made further strides in its 1997 fall season while continuing to move up in the regional rankings.

    Led by senior co-captains Katie King and Tracy Melby and surging sophomore Andrea Klee, the Irish placed sixth or better in three of their four fall tournaments while averaging 323.58 team score, based on the top four scores, putting them on pace to break the team stroke average record of 326.71 set in 1996-97.

    "We were fairly pleased with the fall season and were able to clarify our starting six golfers," says fifth-year Irish head coach Ross Smith. "Our goal remains becoming a team that can contend for one of the District III NCAA tournament spots and we are making progress toward that goal. With this spring being the final semesters for Katie and Tracy, we will be looking to play at an even higher level as a team."

    The Irish played at a high level on several occasions during the 1997 fall season, including a fourth-place showing out of 14 teams at the season-opening Michigan State Invitational, with Klee and Melby tying for 10th among the 85-player field after totaling scores of 240 over the three rounds.

    Notre Dame slipped back to a sixth-place finish at the 13-team University of Michigan Invitational, with Melby's 247 pacing the Irish, but the next outing yielded some of the best team scores in the program's history. The Irish opened play at the University of Kentucky Invitational by posting a team-record score of 302 in first round, paced by an Irish-record one-under 71 from King, a 75 from sophomore Beth Cooper, a 77 by Melby and Klee's 79. Rounds of 320 and 321 produced an eighth-place showing in the challenging 18-team field and a 943 team score, besting the previous Irish team record (949) set in the 1991-92 Michigan State Invitational. King led the Irish in Kentucky with a three-round total of 227, good enough for a share of fifth in the 96-player field.

    The fall season concluded with the first-ever Notre Dame Women's Golf Invitational, held at Bonita Bay Country Club in Florida, with the Irish rallying to a runner-up finish in the six-team field. Freshman Becca Schloss made the most of her first career tournament as a member of the starting six by tying for sixth at Bonita Bay with a team-best score of 243.

    Notre Dame's top three golfers in the fall were separated by just 10 strokes, with Melby posting a team-best 80.83 stroke average, followed closely by Klee (81.00) and King (81.67). Cooper averaged 82.92 strokes per round, followed by Schloss (83.22) and her fellow freshman Mary Klein (84.08). King and Melby -- who head into their final semester tied atop the Irish career stroke average list, at 82.03 over 81 rounds -- will be looking to extend Notre Dame's climb up the district rankings in the spring of 1998.

    "Katie and Tracy both are such valuable and gifted players but their games are significantly different," says Smith, who fully expects the Irish co-captains to end their careers with some of the finest outings of their respective careers.

    "Katie hits the ball from the tee with moderate length but is very consistent at keeping the ball in play. She also has a very good short game, has become mentally strong and is used to coming through for us in the clutch. Tracy, on the other hand, has to be considered one of the longest drivers in women's collegiate golf this season. Her short game often can be a stumbling block, but Tracy is very dangerous when her scores start to match the way she is driving the ball.

    "The great thing about having two players like Tracy and Katie is that they always are a threat to post a great number while they also are smart enough to know how to play within their own capabilities."

    The improving play of Klee and Cooper, in addition to the timely contributions of Klein and Schloss, should help offset the limited play of senior Kristin Schaner, who has yet to return to her old form after undergoing summer shoulder surgery.

    "It's a tough situation for Kristin because she has done a lot for this program but physically is unable to play a lot of golf right now," says Smith. "Although we have a starting six in place for the spring, players like Kristin, (sophomore) Brigid Fisher and (freshman) Danielle Villarosa could find themselves in the mix if they elevate their play in the spring."

    Klein has followed in the footsteps of her sister Crissy, who starred for the Irish women's golf program from 1990-94. The addition of Klein gives the 1997-98 Irish three players who have a sister that was a prominent member of the Irish women's golf program earlier in the 1990s. Julie Melby played for the Irish from 1992-96 and teamed with Tracy in 1995-96 as the only sister combination in the history of the program while Beth Cooper's sister Katy was a member of the Irish golf program from 1991-94.

    Notre Dame's 1998 spring schedule again will include southern swings to the Midwest Classic in Sun City, Arizona (Feb. 20-21) and the annual Snowbird Invitational in Tampa, Fla. (March 12-13).

    IRISH MEN REPEAT AT BUTLER INVITE (3/29-30): Senior captain Bryan Weeks turned in the first medalist performance of his career while Willie Kent finished second and Jeff Connell tied for third, as the Irish repeated as team champion Monday at the Butler Spring Invitational with impressive back-to-back rounds of 292 at the par-71, 7,041-yard Bear Slide Golf Course in Cicero, Ind. ... Notre Dame built on its nine-shot, first-round lead, outdistancing Morehead State (306-305) by 27 strokes ...

    Weeks and sophomore Todd Vernon led the Irish amidst the field of 90 golfers with final round 71s and Kent carded a 73 while first round co-leader Connell and Brad Hardin both turned in 77s ... Weeks shot a 72 in Sunday's opening round before using his best round of 1997-98 to finish with a career-best 143--equaling the third-best 36-hole total by an Irish golfer in the 1990s ... Kent (74-73) finished four shots behind Weeks, with Connell (71-77) one shot back ...

    Vernon (78-71) finished tied for sixth and Hardin (75-77) tied for 10th ... the title equaled the second-biggest field ever defeated by a Notre Dame tournament championship team while the two were the first time in the '90s that an Irish squad has shot 292 or better in consecutive rounds of a tournament ... the 584 total is the best 36-hole team total at Notre Dame in 20 years and 4th-best in team history.

    WORTH THE WAIT: Bryan Weeks' medalist finish at the Butler Invite represented the first victory by a Notre Dame golfer in a major tournament since the fall of '91, when Chris Dayton (69-73) won the 90-golfer Indiana Intercollegiate (held that year at Purdue) ... a Notre Dame golfer has captured medalist honors at the smaller, annual conference tournaments five times in the 1990s (two MCC, three BIG EAST), with the fields ranging from 35-45 golfers in those events ...

    Weeks finished as runner-up at tournaments during his sophomore and junior seasons, firing rounds of 78-7-3-72 at the Cleveland State Classic in the spring of '96 before turning in rounds of 77-74 at the '97 Butler Spring Invite ... Irish golfers have captured three conference titles in the past four seasons: Brian Donohoe in 1994-95 (73-73-75), Bill Moore in '95-'96 (72-71) and Todd Vernon this season (70-71).

    CAREER STROKE AVERAGE (since '54) 1. Charles Thurn (1956-58) 74.43 2. Joseph Grace (1960-62) 74.56 3. Todd Vernon (1997-) 75.39 4. Bryan Weeks (1995- ) 76.22 5. Jeff Connell (1997- ) 76.27 6. Frank Hurd (1958-60) 76.40

    SEASON STROKE AVERAGE (since '54) 1. Joe Grace (1955-56) 73.13 2. Charles Thurn (1955-56) 73.88 3. Bob Wilson (1968-69) 74.30 4. John Lundgren (1979-80) 74.40 5. Bill Cvengros (1967-68) 74.64 6. Todd Vernon (1997-98) 74.59 7. Bryan Weeks (1997-98) 75.44 8. Tom McCarthy (1979-80) 75.20 9. Mike Voss (1962-63) 74.71 10. Jeff Connell (1997-98) 75.48

    TEAM-LEADING TOUR.'S (since '68) 1. Pat Mohan (1987-90) 16 2. Bryan Weeks (1995-) 13

    LOW 36-HOLE TOURNAMENTS (since '63) 1. Mike O'Connell (1962-63) 136/-5 2. Mike O'Connell (1964-65) 137 3. T. Vernon, BIG EAST ('97-'98) 141/-3 Bill Cvengros (1967-68) 141 Chuck Martinez (1967-68) 141 6. Chris Dayton (1991-92) 142/E Dave Knee (1977-78) 142 Bob Battaglia (1970-71) 142 Bob Wilson (1968-69) 142 10. B. Weeks, Butler Inv. ('97-'98) 143/+1

    LOW 54-HOLE TOURNAMENTS (since '63) 1. J. Connell, Marshall Inv. ('97-'98) 209/-4 2. Brian Donohoe (1996-97) 216/E 3. J. Connell, Leg. of Ind. ('97-'98) 217/+1 Joe Dennen (1990-91) 217/+4 5. W. Kent, Ky. Invit. ('97-'98) 218/+2 B. Weeks, Leg. of Ind. ('97-'98) 218/+2 B. Stanis, Leg. of Ind. ('97-'98) 218/+2

    TOP TEAM STROKE AVERAGE (since '80) 1. 1997-98 298.33 2. 1979-80 300.07

    TOP TEAM 36-HOLE TOUR.'S (since '66) 1. at Northern Illinois (1967-68) 578 2. ND Invitational (1967-68) 581/+13 3. Indianapolis Inter. (1977-78) 582 4. Butler Invitational (1997-98) 584/+16

    TOP TEAM 54-HOLE TOUR.'S (since '66) 1. Legends of Indiana (1997-98) 873/+9 2. Marshall Invitational (1997-98) 878/+26 3. Northern Intercoll. (1990-91) 879/+27 4. Legends of Indiana (1996-97) 884/+20 5. Ky. Intercollegiate (1997-98) 888/+24 6. Ky. Intercollegiate (1996-97) 891/+27 7. Ocala Intercoll. (1997-98) 892/+28 8. Northern Intercoll. (1977-78) 893 9. Ohio St. Intercoll. (1997-98) 895/+31 10. Air Force Invit. (1997-98) 896/+32

    TOP TEAM ROUNDS (since '66) 1. Marshall Invitational (1997-98) 283/-1 at Northern Illinois (1967-68) 283/+3 2. Legends of Indiana (1994-95) 284/E 3. Legends of Indiana (1997-98) 287/+3 ND Invitational (1981-82) 287/+3 5. Legends of Indiana (1997-98) 288/+4

    TEAM TEAM FINISHES Butler Invitational (1996-97) 1st of 18 Butler Invitational (1997-98) 1st of 16

    IRISH EYE NCAAS: The Irish entered last week ranked 8th in the District, after placing 8th out of 20 teams at the Marshall Invitational ... Notre Dame's strong spring has included 9th-place out of 20 teams at the Golden Ocala (Fla.) Intercollegiate, the team title at the 15-team Butler Invitational and a runner-up showing at the 20-team Kentucky Intercollegiate ... the district committee will select either six teams and one additional individual or five teams and six individuals to represent the Midwest at the NCAA Central Regional tournament, May 4-6 at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas ... a team's district ranking will be one of several criteria weighed by the committee ... Notre Dame has no scheduled tournaments remaining, although the Irish may be added to one more tournament in the coming weeks ... the district committee will hold a selection conference call on May 5 ... Notre Dame has faced 39 of the other 42 teams in the district during 1997-98 and trails only five of them in head-to-head record: Illinois (0-5, -55 strokes), Miami of Ohio (1-4, -52), Ohio State (0-2, -44), Northwestern (0-2, -22) and Minnesota (0-1, -7) ... possible teams that are in contention with the Irish for an NCAA berth are Kent (1-1, -32), Indiana (2-2, -18), Kentucky (2-2, -19), Toledo (2-2, -16), Akron (2-1, E) and Michigan (3-1, +17) ... the Irish also trail just six district teams in spring head-to-head meetings: Illinois (0-2, -22), Miami (1-3, -24), OSU (0-2, -44), Northwestern (0-2, -22), Minnesota (0-1 , -7) and Toledo (1-2, -19) ... Notre Dame has some strong spring results vs. Kent (1-0, +9), Kentucky (2-0, +30), Akron (2-0, +30), Michigan (3-0. +40) and Indiana (1-1, -2).

    KENT FAIRLY SUPER SO FAR: Junior Willie Kent entered last week's play ranked 28th among individuals in the Midwest District and truly has made his presence felt for the Irish golf team this spring, after transferring from Saint Louis University ... Kent averaged 74 strokes per round last fall for SLU and has averaged a team-best 74.07 strokes through 11 rounds with the Irish (79-73-70, 74-73, 72-71-71, 76-81-72 and 76-76-69) ... Kent's 218 at the Kentucky Intercollegiate--where he finished 4th--equals the 5th-best 54-hole score in Irish history, since tournament play began in 1963 ... he has shot par or better in four of his rounds this spring while firing a 147 to take runner-up honors at the gusty Butler Invitational ... Kent's second-round 69 (-3) at last week's OSU Intercollegiate equals the lowest score by an Irish golfer since Dave Knee and Tim Saurs carded 68s in 1977-78 (Irish golfers have totaled a 69 during 16 rounds since '78 ... Kent's first tournament with the Irish--the Golden Ocala Intercollegiate--included his former school, as SLU finished 11th with a 915 ... Kent's younger brother, Alex, turned in rounds of 84-71-74 for the Billikens.

    TRIPLE TROUBLE: Senior Bryan Weeks and sophomore Todd Vernon remain on pace for two of the best season and career stroke averages in Irish history ... Vernon has counted to the team score in 25 of 27 rounds while averaging 74.59 strokes per round, sliding below Bill Cvengros (74.64, 1967-68) with the 5th-best season avg. in recorded team history and best since John Lundgren's 74.40 in '79-'80 ... Weeks has counted in 23 rounds and is 23 strokes behind Vernon with a 75.44 avg., which would rank 8th in recorded team history ... Weeks' career stroke avg. now stands at 76.22 over 93 rounds, representing the 4th-best mark in recorded team history (since 1954) and best by an Irish golfer since Joseph Grace's 74.56 in '60-'62 ... Weeks has shot 75 or lower in seven of his last 11 rounds and in 40 of 93 career rounds (he has counted to the team score in 80 career rounds) ... although Vernon still has two-plus years left in his career, he has logged 44 rounds while averaging 75.39 strokes, which would trail only Charles Thurn (74.43, '56-'58) in the Irish record book ... Vernon-who has counted in 40 of 44 career rounds-has shot par or lower seven times in 1997-98 while Weeks also has done so seven times in '97-'98, including four of his past 11 rounds ... sophomore Jeff Connell's strong spring (74.14) has dropped his 1997-98 stroke avg. to 75.44, which stands 9th in the Irish record book (just one shot behind Weeks) ... Connell also has surged into the Irish career stroke leaders, ranking 5th at 76.27 over 33 rounds.

    BREAKING THE 300 BARRIER: Notre Dame's team stroke average of 298.33 factors out to 74.58 per round counted to the team score ... the current team average would stand as the best mark by an Irish squad, since the count-four format was adopted in 1980 (the 1979-80 team holds the existing record of 300.07 strokes per round) ... Notre Dame has shot below 300 in 10 of 14 spring rounds, including six of the last eight.

    FEARSOME FIVESOME: Notre Dame has stormed to a 295.50 stroke avg. through 14 rounds this spring, behind one of the best fivesomes in the program's history: senior Bryan Weeks, juniors Brad Hardin and Willie Kent and sophomores Jeff Connell and Todd Vernon ... just one stroke separates the top-three golfers this spring-Kent (1,037/74.07), Connell (1,038/74.14) and Vernon (1,038/74.14)-while Weeks (75.43) and Hardin (75.82) have posted solid spring numbers as well ... Notre Dame golfers have combined for 28 rounds of par or better during 1997-98, with each of the staring five totaling at least one: Connell (8), Vernon (7, in 6 different tournaments), Weeks (5), Kent (4) and Hardin (2) ... Vernon has led the team at four of the 11 tournaments in 1997-98 while Weeks has been the top finisher twice ... Hardin led the Irish at the Louisville Intercollegiate while Connell-who has counted to the team sore in 29 of 33 career rounds-led Notre Dame at the fall Legends of Indiana and the Marshall Invitational, in addition to claiming medalist honors in the preseason Campus Championship ... Kent joined the club as a top finisher, tying for fourth at the recent Johnny Owens Intercollegiate and tying with Vernon for 15th at the OSU Intercollegiate ... Hardin's top finish of 1997-98 was 10th at the Butler Invitational ... like each of his fellow starters, Hardin owns a recent top-two finish, after taking runner-up honors at the '96-'97 BIG EAST Championship ... Kent (-3), Weeks (-3) and Connell (-2) all have turned in 69s during '97-'98 while Vernon (-3) did so as a freshman.

    ON PAR FOR GREATNESS: Notre Dame golfers have hit par or better 17 times this spring in 14 rounds, including three even 71s at the Butler Invitational--Jeff Connell (1st round), Bryan Weeks (2nd) and Todd Vernon (2nd)--and Connell's record-setting showing at the Marshall Invitational (70-69-70) ... in last week's OSU Intercollegiate, Connell carded an even-par 72 in the first round while Willie Kent equaled the second-best round in the entire tournament with a final-round 69 ... Vernon also this spring has shot a one-under 71 at the Golden Ocala Intercollegiate, an even-par 72 at the Johnny Owens and an even-par 71 at the Marshall Invite ... Kent turned in a 70 at Ocala to equal the 3rd-best round by an Irish golfer in 1997-98 (Vernon shot an opening-round 70 last fall the BIG EAST Championship while Connell opened with a 70 the next week at the Legends of Indiana) ... Kent then added rounds of 72 and 71 at the Johnny Owens ... Brad Hardin also turned in an even-par 72 at Golden Ocala while Weeks recently broke even at the Johnny Owens (72) before equaling his career low round last week at Guyan (70) ... Connell's 71 at the recent Butler Invitational ranks as the 3rd-best round of his career while Weeks' 71 at Bear Slide tied for his 4th-best career round ... Vernon carded a 69 as a freshman while his impressive 1997-98 has included one 70, five 71s and one 72.

    MELBY NEARLY REPEATS AT ILLINI CLASSIC: Senior co-captain Tracy Melby came within a shot of successfully defending her individual title at the Illini Spring Classic, after turning in a seven-over 153 (75-78) at last year's event ... Melby used a career-best opening round of 71 and a second-round 81 to finish with a two-over 152 (the course's par changed from 73 to 75), finishing a shot behind medalist Jessica Popiel of Toledo ... Melby is one of five Irish women's golfers to have captured medalist honors during the program's 10-year history and owns the distinction of defeating the largest field (73) of any of those medalists ... Kathy Phares won the 43-golfer Indianapolis Invitational in the fall of 1989, firing a one-round score of 73, while Cappy Mack won a small 25-golfer tournament at the Franklin Invitational three weeks later, carding an 81 ... Crissy Klein-the sister of current Irish freshman Mary Klein-won the Bradley Invitational (field unavailable) in the spring of 1992 with rounds of 83 and 78 ... Alicia Murray is the final Irish women's medalist, firing rounds of 78 and 77 to finish atop a 44-golfer field at the Ferris State Invitational in the fall of 1993 ... Irish women's golfers have posted five runner-up finishes, including current senior Katie King's 229 (76-81-72) at the Illinois State Classic in the fall of 1996.

    KING, MELBY STILL AT THE TOP: Senior co-captains Katie King and Tracy Melby remain first and second at Notre Dame in career stroke average ... both players have logged 90 career rounds, with King owning the best stroke average (81.57) in Irish history while Melby is 30 shots back, with an 81.90 average ... Melby and King both have figured in the count-four team score in an Irish-record 78 career rounds ... Melby and King's 86.7 percent of career rounds counted are tied for 3rd in Irish history, behind Kathy Phares (97.1, 66/68, 1990-93) and Allison Wojnas (88.1, 52/59, 1989-92) ... Phares held the previous Irish record for career stroke average (83.11) while Melby's sister Julie held the prior mark for career rounds counted to the team score (71) ... Phares led the Irish in 17 career tournaments, best at Notre ahead of King (13), Tracy Melby (12) and Crissy Klein (11, 1991-94).

    SOPHOMORE SURGE: Sophomore Andrea Klee has turned in an impressive 1997-98 season, after struggling last year as a freshman ... Klee is the only Irish golfer to count to the team score in all 21 rounds this season while her 80.67 season stroke average would rank 3rd in Irish history, behind senior Katie King's current 79.86 and King's junior average (80.17) ... an Irish player has counted to every round of an entire season just three times previously: Kathy Phares in 1990-91 (20) and 1992-93 (21) and King in 1995-96 (20) ... Klee's seven-over 151 (77-76) at the recent Midwest Classic represented the third-best 36-hole tournament in Irish women's golf history ... she led the Irish with a 10th-place showing at the MSU Invitational (79-80-81) and has posted nine rounds of 80 or better during 1997-98 ... Klee averaged just 91.40 strokes per round as a freshman while counting to the team score in only six of the 20 rounds she played during 1996-97.

    DECADE DOMINANCE: Notre Dame's 10th season of women's golf truly has proven to be its most dominant, as the Irish women have fashioned a 319.86 team count-four stroke average that is well ahead of the record set last season (326.71) ... the team's 607 (312-295) at the Midwest Classic shattered the existing team record for 36 holes by 21 strokes while the 943 (302-320-321) at the Kentucky Invitational broke the team 54-hole record by six shots ...the 295 (+7) at the Midwest Classic, the 302 (+14) at Kentucky and the 303 (+3) at last week's Illini Classic represent the three-best single rounds in Irish women's golf history, with the 312 at the Midwest Classic and the Notre Dame Invitational tying for the 6th-best rounds in the program's history.

    KING OF THE HILL: Senior captain Katie King is putting the finishing touches on her record-setting Notre Dame career ... King holds Irish records for career stroke average (81.57), season stroke average (currently 79.86) and 36-hole tournament score (149 at the recent Midwest Classic) ... she has counted to the team score in 78 of 90 rounds, tying classmate Tracy Melby atop the Irish record books ... King has four top-five finishes this season: 5th at the Kentucky Invitational (71-81-75), 3rd at the Midwest Classic (75-74), 4th at the NIU Snowbird Intercollegiate (78-72) and 5th at the OSU Intercollegiate (77-81) ... she has posted seven career rounds of 75 or lower and 30 rounds of 78 or lower ... King has shot 80 or lower in 12 of 21 rounds this season, including eight of the last 10.

    KLEIN TAKES 5TH, IRISH WOMEN 6TH AT IU (4/4-5): Notre Dame freshman Mary Klein--a native of nearby Kokomo--tied for fifth while leading the Irish women to sixth place at the 15-team Indiana Invitational, held at the par-74, 6,134-yard IU Golf Course ... Klein shared the lead with an opening three-under 71 and added an 80 in the afternoon to forge a tie for second ... she shot 79 the next day for a 230 total--the fifth-best 54-hole score in the 10 years of Irish women's golf, besting the 232 posted by Klein's sister Crissy at the 1991-92 OSU Invitational ... Klein's first-round 71 equals the best round in Irish women's golf history (senior Katie King fired a one-under 71 at last fall's Kentucky Invitational) ...

    Notre Dame entered the final round tied with Wisconsin for fourth at 636 (314-322) but Minnesota vaulted past the Irish and Badgers while Wisconsin edged Notre Dame by a stroke, 316-317 ... King (78-83-79) tied for 23rd at 240 ... sophomore Andrea Klee (84-81-80) counted in all three rounds while senior co-captain Tracy Melby bounced back from opening rounds of 81 and 89 with a 79 ... sophomore Beth Cooper followed up a solid first two rounds (84-78) with a final-round 94 ...Notre Dame entered the IU Invitational ranked 11th in the district ... a selection committee will pick four teams and one individual or three teams and six individuals to represent the district at the NCAA East Regional, to be held May 7-9 at Duke Golf Club in Durham, N.C. ... five golfers have led the Irish women at tournaments during '97-'98: King (campus championship, Kentucky Invite, Midwest Classic, NIU Snowbird Invite), Klee (MSU Invite), Melby (MSU Invite, Michigan Invite), Becca Schloss (ND Invite in Naples, Fla.) and Klein (IU Invite).

    WOMEN'S GOLF RECORD BOOKCAREER STROKE AVERAGE 1. Katie King (1995- ) 81.57 2. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 81.90

    SEASON STROKE AVERAGE 1. Katie King (1997-98) 79.86 2. Katie King (1996-97) 80.17 3. Andrea Klee (1997-98) 80.67 4. Alicia Murray (1993-94) 80.68 5. Tracy Melby (1997-68) 80.81

    CAREER ROUNDS COUNTED 1. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 78 of 90 Katie King (1995-) 78 of 90 CAREER PCT. OF ROUNDS COUNTED 1. Kathy Phares (1990-93) 97.1 (66/68)78 2. Allison Wojnas (1989-92) 88.1 (52/59) 3. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 86.7 (78/90) Katie King (1995-) 86.7 (78/90)

    SEASON PCT. OF ROUNDS COUNTED 1. Kathy Phares (1992-93) 100.0 (21/21) Andrea Klee (1997-98) 100.0 (21/21) Katie King (1995-96) 100.0 (20/20) Kathy Phares (1990-91) 100.0 (20/20)

    TEAM-LEADING TOURNAMENTS 1. Kathy Phares (1987-90) 17 2. Katie King (1995-) 13 3. Tracy Melby (1995- ) 12

    LOW 36-HOLE TOURNAMENTS 1. K. King, Midwest Cl. ('97-'98) 149/+5 2. K. King, NIU Inter. ('97-'98) 150/+6 3. A. Klee, Midwest Cl. ('97-'98) 151/+7 4. T. Melby, Ill. Classic ('97-'98) 152/+2 5. Tracy Melby, Ill. Invit. ('96-'97) 154/+7 Alicia Murray ('93-'94) 154/+10 7. T. Melby, Midwest Cl. ('97-'98) 155/+11 LOW 54-HOLE TOURNAMENTS 1. Alicia Murray (1993-94) 224/+11 2. Allison Wojnas (1991-92) 226/+13 3. Katie King, Ky. Invit. ('97-'98) 227/+11 4. K. King, ISU Classic ('96-'97) 229/+10 5. M. Klein ('97-'98), IU Invit. 230/+8 6. Crissy Klein (1991-92) 232/+19 7. T. Melby, ISU Classic ('96-'97) 233/+14 8. T. Melby, Ky. Invit. ('97-'98) 236/+20

    TOP TEAM STROKE AVERAGES 1. 1997-98 319.86 2. 1996-97 326.71


     
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