Sep 9, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame women's golf head coach Susan Holt signed on for this past weekend's IU Fall Kickoff as the final tournament to comprise the fall 2013 Irish slate mainly as an instructional opportunity.
It had been some six seasons since Notre Dame played an event so early in the calendar year, and as such, the five Irish players in the field Sunday at the Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville, Ind., competed as unattached individuals for no team score.
Holt immediately recognized the dividends of the experience after Notre Dame placed four players in the top 20 of the team's first outing of 2013-14.
"I thought it provided the opportunity we wanted, which was to get our players back out and competing again, and to play 36 holes in one day to prepare us for next weekend at Michigan State (Mary Fossum Invitational)," Holt said. "I think we achieved that. The golf course was tough, and we had a few players take some pretty big numbers, in particular Talia Campbell and Kelli Oride each took a 10 on a par-5 in the first round. It was a combination of lost balls and hitting into the hazard, not being able to get it out.
"Looking back, I think we need to discuss what they did in the situation, and if they would do anything differently in the future now that they know what the outcome was. Hopefully there is a learning component to that."
Oride bounced back nicely from a morning seven-over par 79 to card the low Notre Dame round of the tournament with an afternoon 71 (-1), tying for 16th place overall at 150 (+6). Campbell also improved upon a first round 77 with a second 18 total of 74, claiming a share of 16th with a 151 (+7) two-round total of her own.
"From a coaching perspective, it was good for both of them to come back from their fifth or sixth hole in the first round where they put that big number on the card," Holt said. "To keep their composure and continue to play as well as they did to finish out the round was a big maturity accomplishment and victory for them in that regard."
The next time the players reached the dreaded par-5 that derailed their opening round, the experience gained from earlier in the day was immediately evident.
"They obviously learned from their mistakes the next time they played the hole, and I think they both made pars and saved five shots right there," Holt said. "I was pleased with both players to bounce back and continue to play as strong as they did and post numbers they are more capable of shooting in the second round."
Freshman Jordan Ferreira was the low Irish finisher in the field, firing a score of 149 (76-73, +5) to tie for eighth place and earn her first career collegiate top 10 in her inaugural start. Holt was impressed by Ferreira's solid, consistent play, and her general composure given the nerves of her college debut.
"It's just a good confidence boost to know that Jordan can compete at the level she is now competing in," Holt said. "It can be a big jump from junior golf to college golf. Jordan is from the state of Washington and was a very dominant junior player in that region of the country, but now she is in a different realm of competition.
"She should feel good about where she stands and her ability to compete at this level. I think she'll do just fine."
With the opening weekend now in the books, Notre Dame turns its attention to the Mary Fossum Invitational (Sept. 14-15) in East Lansing, Mich., a tournament the Irish won in 2010 and placed third in last season. Holt believes that the players' past experiences on the Forest Akers West Golf Course will give the team a head start during its preparations for the event.
"Talia was talking on the way home last night about the things she needs to focus on, and they all have their areas that they need to hone in on this week," Holt said. "Certainly, we will have the opportunity to do that through the end of the week at practice, and actually everyone on the team has played Forest Akers West Golf Course except for Jordan. Janie Fineis, our other freshman, is from East Lansing and has played the course a lot. It will just be Jordan who hasn't seen it, but I think it sets up really well for her.
"It's a completely different style of golf course with everything right in front of you so you can see it, unlike the Purgatory Golf Club where we just played. It will prepare us well not only for this tournament but for the rest of our fall semester."