May 8, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Tournament Information Date: May 10-12, 2012 Place: Columbus, Ohio
NCAA CENTRAL REGIONAL
The Notre Dame women's golf team makes its seventh appearance in the NCAA Central Regional as a team as the Irish will begin play on Thursday, May 10 along with 23 other teams and six individuals in Columbus, Ohio. The 54-hole tournament will be played on the par 72, 6,264-yard Ohio State Scarlet Course and run through Saturday, May 12. The top eight team finishers and the top two individuals will advance to the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championship that will be held May 22-25 at the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Course in Franklin, Tenn. They will be joined by teams competing in the East Regional at Penn State and the West Regional at Erie, Colorado. This weekend's trip to Columbus, Ohio will mark the second time that the Irish have appeared in a Central Regional held at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. In 2009, the Irish finished 16th in that Central Regional and current senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.), then a freshman, was Notre Dame's top finisher as she finished in a tie for 27th. The Irish enter this year's regional seeded 17th overall after finishing second at the BIG EAST Championship, April 22-24, in Orlando, Fla. Notre Dame finished second to South Florida - also participating in the Central Regional - losing by just one stroke for the team title. Freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) was the individual medalist at the BIG EAST Championship, winning the title on the third playoff hole.
The 2012 NCAA Central Regional will be played on the Dr. Alister MacKenzie designed Scarlet Golf Course at Ohio State that saw a major restoration in 2005 and 2006 by Buckeye legend Jack Nicklaus that redesigned the bunkers to appear more like the classic designs of MacKenzie. The course was lengthened to play up to 7,455 yards from the championship tees. The course plays through wooded, rolling terrain and contains a 9-1/2 acre lake and stream that creates challenging play on several holes. The women will play on a par-72, 6,264-yard layout. The Scarlet Course has played host to a record 14 Women's NCAA Championships and 10 Men's Championships. It has been the site of several U.S. Open Qualifers, U.S. Amateur qualifiers and the 1977 USGA Junior Championship.
The weather forecast for Columbus, Ohio for May 9 through May 12 looks like this:
Wed., May 9 (Practice Round) - Partly Cloudy with a 10% chance of rain and a high of 69. Wind from the west at 14 mph.
Thur., May 10 (First Round) - Mostly Sunny with a 0% chance of rain and a high of 66. Wind from the NNW at 8 mph.
Fri., May 11 (Second Round) - Sunny, 0% chance of rain and a high of 72. Winds from the south at 4 mph.
Sat., May 12 (Third Round) - Partly Cloudy with 10% chance of rain and a high of 76. Winds from the south-southwest at 4 mph.
NCAA REGIONAL VETERANS
Three members of the Notre Dame women's golf team have appeared in the NCAA Central Regional in the past. Senior Becca Huffer will be making her fourth consecutive appearance for the Irish. As a freshman in 2009, she finished tied for 27th with a 230 total. A year later, she was again Notre Dame's top finisher with a 231 total and a tie for 16th. Last year, Huffer tied for 22nd overall with a 226 total and was third among Irish golfers. Fellow senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) will make her second appearance this week. She played in the 2010 regional as a sophomore, finishing in a tie for 85th with a 249 total. Sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) will make her second appearance after finishing in a tie for 14th as a freshman in 2011. Nhim was second among Notre Dame golfers as she shot an eight-over par 224 in her first NCAA appearance.
LOOKING TO MOVE ON
Last spring, Notre Dame turned in its best finish ever in an NCAA Central Regional as the Irish were fifth at the tournament held at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course. They finished 11 strokes behind regional winner UCLA and advanced to the first NCAA Championship in the history of the Notre Dame women's golf program. At the NCAA Championship at Texas A&M, the Irish finished 22nd overall in the 24-team field.
Tee times for the NCAA Central Regional have been set according to the seedings that were established using Golfstat rankings. Notre Dame's practice round will start at 11:42 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9. The Irish will then begin play on Thursday, May 10 on the 10th hole beginning at 12:30 p.m. Notre Dame golfers will be paired with players from 16th- seed South Florida and 18th-seed Texas-San Antonio. On Friday, May 11, the Irish will begin play on the first tee beginning at 8:00 a.m. with South Florida and Texas-San Antonio. Saturday's final round will have the starting times set by the team's rankings after 36 holes.
THIS LOOKS FAMILIAR
Notre Dame women's golf coach Susan Holt is no stranger to the Ohio State University Scarlet Course. Holt is a 1988 Ohio State graduate and was a four-year letter winner with the women's golf team, playing on the Buckeyes' 1985 and 1988 Big Ten Championship teams. She participated in NCAA Championship Tournaments in 1985 and 1988.
BIG EAST CHAMPION
Freshman Ashley Armstrong won her first career individual title when she captured the 2012 BIG EAST Championship on April 24 at the Tom Watson Course at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. Armstrong shot rounds of 73, 77 and 73 for a seven-over par 223 to finish in a 54-hole tie with Louisville's Emily Haas. She then outdueled Haas in a playoff, taking medalist honors on the third extra hole. With the victory, Armstrong became the fifth Notre Dame women's golfer to win or share the individual BIG EAST championship, joining co-winners Katie Brophy `06 in 2003 and Karen Lotta `05 in 2005 plus individual winners Annie Brophy `10 in 2008 and Lisa Maunu `09 in 2009.
BIG EAST HONORS
Three members of the Notre Dame women's golf program were honored by the BIG EAST Conference following the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament. Freshman Ashley Armstrong was selected in voting by the conference's coaches as the BIG EAST freshman of the year and was an all-BIG EAST selection. Armstrong was the winner of the BIG EAST Championship's individual title and finished in the top 16 of all five tournaments the Irish played this spring. Her 75.58 stroke average is second on the team. Senior Becca Huffer became the third Notre Dame and BIG EAST women's golfer to be named all-BIG EAST for the fourth time in her career. Huffer was fifth at the BIG EAST Tournament and leads Notre Dame with a 75.27 stroke average this season. She joins Noriko Nakazaki '07 and Annie Brophy '10 who were all-BIG EAST selections in all four of their seasons at Notre Dame. Sophomore Kristina Nhim was named all-BIG EAST for the second time in her career. Nhim finished in a tie for sixth at the BIG EAST and is third among Irish golfers with a 77.00 average this season.
MORE AWARDS FOR HUFFER
Senior captain Becca Huffer was selected as the winner of the team's Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award in voting by her teammates for the 2011-12 season. The steady Huffer has played in all nine tournaments for the Irish this season, playing 26 rounds with 25 of them counting towards team scoring. Her 75.27 average is tops on the team and she has four top 10 finishes and five top 25 finishes for the year. She won her first individual title in the fall when she finished first at the Hoosier Fall Invitational at Crooked Stick Golf Club, Oct. 17-18, with a four-over par 220 in helping the Irish to a second-place finish. Huffer also was the recipient of the team's Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Scholar-Athlete award as she has the top senior grade point average on the squad. She currently checks in with a 3.54 gpa in her Industrial Design major. She has been nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-American honors on the At-Large team this spring.
IN THE CLASSROOM
The Notre Dame women's golf program was honored at the University's recent year-end awards show with the award for the highest team grade-point average over the last two semesters (spring of 2011 and fall of 2011). The women's team turned in marks of 3.638 (spring 2011 GPA) and had a 3.655 fall GPA (2011). It marked the third consecutive year that the team has been honored for at least one semester with the highest GPA among the 26 Notre Dame athletic teams. The 3.655 grade-point average is 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.
LAST TIME OUT
The Notre Dame women's golf team shot a 54-hole total of 45-over par 911 to finish second at the 2012 BIG EAST Women's Golf Championship played April 22-24 at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The Irish were one shot behind the University of South Florida as the Bulls shot a 910 for the three rounds. Louisville was third (918) with Seton Hall and Rutgers rounding out the top five teams. The highlight of the tournament for Notre Dame was the play of freshman Ashley Armstrong who led or had a share of the lead the entire tournament. She finished tied for first with Louisville's Emily Haas as both golfers turned in seven-over par 223s after 54 holes. In the sudden-death playoff, both golfers bogeyed the first hole, parred the second and on the third hole, Armstrong birdied to take the individual title. Senior Becca Huffer was fifth with a 10-over par 226. Sophomore Kristina Nhim tied for sixth with a 12-over mark of 228 for her second top-10 finish in the tournament. Freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) was fourth among Irish golfers as she tied for 19th with a 22-over mark of 238. Katie Allare tied for 24th as she shot a 26-over mark of 242.
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.
Senior Becca Huffer serves as the Notre Dame team captain for the 2011-12 season. A four-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer leads the Irish with a 75.27 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 49 career tournaments, covering 126 rounds, the industrial design major owns a 75.17 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 four top 10 finishes and five 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 three second-place finishes in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The 2009 BIG EAST rookie of the year, she had her best conference finish in 2011 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 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.
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 NCAA Central Regionals. 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. At the BIG EAST, she tied for sixth with a 12-over par 228 as she shot rounds of 74, 76 and 78 to help the Irish to a second-place finish.
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 three 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.
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.
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 NCAA Central Regionals with an average of 75.58 for 26 rounds and is second on the Irish in scoring average after winning the BIG EAST Championship in her last outing. Oride is fourth among the Notre Dame golfers with a 78.73 average in 26 rounds. Her best finish came in the fall at the Hoosier Fall Invitational when she tied for fourth with a nine-over par 225.
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
The Irish will look for an eighth-place or better finish this weekend at the NCAA Central Regional for the chance to advance to the NCAA Championships, May 22-25 at Vanderbilt's Legends Course in Franklin, Tenn. Notre Dame has advanced once (2011) to the NCAA Championship Tournament in the program's history.