May 4, 2016
By Chris Masters
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Leaving final exams and the 2015-16 academic calendar in the rearview mirror, the University of Notre Dame women’s golf team trades pens and pencils for drivers, irons and putters as the Fighting Irish begin their ninth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET) Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Birmingham Regional at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Shoal Creek Club (par 72/6,470 yards) in Birmingham, Alabama.
2016 NCAA Birmingham Regional
DATES: May 5-7, 2016
TIMES*: 7:30 a.m. CT (Thursday) / TBA (Friday-Saturday)
AT: Birmingham, Alabama - Shoal Creek Club (par 72 / 6,470 yards)
TICKETS: Free admission
1ST REGIONAL: 2004 (17th-Central)
LAST REGIONAL: 2015 (8th-South Bend)
LIVE STATS: Golfstat.com
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @NDwomensGolf
* - Notre Dame begins Thursday from No. 10 tee; Friday and Saturday tee times/locations based on 18- and 36-hole scores
One of three freshmen in Notre Dame's lineup at this week's NCAA Birmingham Regional, Emma Albrecht ranks 21st in the ACC with a 74.21 stroke average and has six top-20 finishes to her credit.
Here’s a look at five things you need to know before Notre Dame begins its NCAA postseason journey Thursday morning from the No. 10 tee at Shoal Creek:
Notre Dame is the No. 10 seed in the 18-team field for this week’s NCAA Birmingham Regional. The Fighting Irish have been a top-10 regional seed in three of the past four years and five times in program history, all during the decade-long tenure of current head coach Susan Holt.
The low six teams and the low three individuals not on advancing teams will qualify for the NCAA Championship, to be played May 20-25 at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon. Notre Dame has reached the NCAA finals once before, finishing 22nd in 2011 at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas (coincidentally, one of the other three NCAA regional sites this week, along with Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Stanford, California).
Notre Dame is making its first trip to the state of Alabama since the 2013 NCAA East Regional at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Alabama. The Fighting Irish tied for 15th that week after shooting 908 (+44), their lowest score in seven NCAA regionals Notre Dame has played away from its own award-winning Warren Golf Course.
Although Shoal Creek has not traditionally been a stop on the college golf circuit, a Notre Dame golf team previously has played on the legendary course. On Sept. 26-27, 2005, the Fighting Irish men placed sixth at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate after carding 872 (+8), while then-junior Cole Isban finished in a three-way tie for first with a career-low 210 (-6) before bowing out following the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Notre Dame has gone toe to toe (or club to club) with many of the top seeds in this week’s NCAA Birmingham Regional, posting a 7-6 record against the rest of the field. That includes a 16-shot win over No. 1 seed Alabama, a one-stroke victory over third-seeded Oklahoma State, a 21-shot win over No. 9 seed Purdue and a 23-stroke margin over fellow ACC member Clemson, all at the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 23-25 in Wilmington, North Carolina), as well as a 14-stroke victory over another conference foe, Florida State at the weather-shortened 36-hole Schooner Fall Classic (Sept. 19-21 in Norman, Oklahoma).
Alabama and the NCAA will offer live scoring from the NCAA Birmingham Regional 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.
— ND —
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).