Sept. 13, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
The Notre Dame women's golf team begins its 2012-13 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 15 as the Irish travel to East Lansing, Mich., for the 29th annual Mary Fossum Invitational hosted by Michigan State University. The two-day event, held at Forest Akers West Golf Course, will feature 16 teams that will play 36 holes on day one followed by 18 holes of play on day two. A foursome shotgun format will begin play both days. Saturday's start is slated for 9 a.m., with Sunday getting underway at 8:30 a.m.
"It's a great golf course and it's a good tournament," says head coach Susan Holt. "I enjoy going there. It's a great way for us to open up our season. It's close, we can hop in the car and drive up there. We don't have many chances to do that. The field this year is a good one with Purdue in it. Purdue has made the NCAA finals each of the seven years and won the national championship a couple of years ago. I think it's going to be a real opportunity for us to get an early gage on where we are at, at the beginning of the year and Michigan State is always hard to beat at home."
SCORING: Each team will be allotted five players to compete. The team's highest score will be dropped and the lowest four scores, at the conclusion of each round, will be counted towards a team's overall score.
TOURNAMENT UPDATES: Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. Day-to-to recap information of the tournament can be found at UND.com. Sign-up for Irish Alert - Textcaster and receive round-by-round results straight to your phone.
FIELD (16): Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Oakland, Purdue, Texas State, Toledo, Western Michigan and Wisconsin.
WEATHER: Friday morning will see a 40 percent chance of rain drizzle and reach a high of 69 degrees, low of 45 degrees. Wind will be coming in steady from the northwest at 13 mph. Saturday will see sunny skies and a high of 73 degrees, low of 46 degrees. Wind will be expected to taper off and reach five mph out of the northwest.
Forest Akers West Course, merited a 4.5 star rating by Golf Digest, currently features an extremely fast green speed of 11.5, giving way for more long putt opportunities this weekend. The 6,236-yard par-72 course is outlined with 52 sand bunkers commonly placed around the rolling mounds surrounding the greens. The west course will be a true test for the Irish as the fairways are unforgiving, leaving a tight window on holes six and eight. Look for scores to fluctuate on hole 18 where major hazards can come into play. The course entangles many difficulties that will sharpen the Irish for spring championship play as it has played host to the 2002 NCAA Central Regional and most recent, the 2008 Big Ten Men's Golf Championship.
THE MARY FOSSUM INVITE: Since 1978, the Spartans have played host to the event that honors the long-time head coach, Mary Fossum, who guided the program from 1973-97. Michigan State owns the most overall team wins at the event with nine and has taken six of the last seven. The Spartans are currently led by No. 32 in the nation (Golfweek) and defending tournament champion, senior Caroline Powers. Powers has been the Spartans top finisher the last two times out and finished first overall last year shooting a 217. The Buckeyes from Ohio State have the second most wins in invitational history however, their most recent win has not come since 1992. The Irish have appeared at the invitational on 17occasions, taking a leave of absence in 2011. Notre Dame battled their way to a team championship back in 2010 edging out Kent State by five strokes with a 890 combined score. Prior to the win, Notre Dame placed tenth in 2009 and third in 2008.
BUILDING TRADITION: Head coach Susan Holt enters her seventh season and assistant coach Kyle Veltri enters her eighth season with Notre Dame. During her tenure Holt has produced a streak of five consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and has not finished worse than third at the BIG EAST Championship. Holt and her squad were beat out a mere single stoke by South Florida at the championship last year. Holt has captured 10 tournament titles and two BIG EAST Champions ('08, '11) during her time at Notre Dame. The 2011 BIG EAST Coach of the Year led the Irish to their first NCAA Championship appearance in program history in the spring of 2011 and will look to carry on the success in 2012-13.
WELCOME BACK: The Irish return three members from the 2011-12 roster which include 2012 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Ashley Armstrong, two-time All-BIG-EAST honoree junior Kristina Nhim and sophomore Kelli Oride. All three members were named 2011-12 BIG EAST Scholar-Athletes and competed in all 10 tournaments playing 29 rounds last season. The trio combined for a 2011-12 stroke average of 77.3 and contributed to a fourth all-time best team score of 288 at the Notre Dame Clover Cup. Armstrong swung her way to a BIG EAST individual championship by finishing first with a 73-77-73 from the field and an overall 223(+7) score. Armstrong carried the best round on the team with a 67 (-5) last season at the Notre Dame Clover Cup and qualified for the 2012 US Women's Open where she shot a 162(+18). Notre Dame will look to Nhim for insight, being the only current roster member to play at Forest Akers West Golf Course in '10 as she brings two years of collegiate playing experience. Nhim contributed to the '10 team win by carding a 78 (+6) in her final round tying for 19th place at 232 (+16). Nhim additionally performed well at the end of last season last year tying for sixth at 2012 BIG EAST Championship with a 228(+12). Nhim stands sixth all-time in program history with a 76.86 career stroke average through 66 rounds of play. Oride helped the Irish to a second-place finish at the BIG East Championship by tying for 19th putting together a final score of 242 (+22). Oride was strong for the Irish at the start of the 2011 season averaging 76 per round through the first three tournaments. Oride was Notre Dame's top finisher at the Golfweek Conference Challenge tying for 32nd with a 230 (+14). Oride finished fourth, a season best, at the Hoosier Fall invitational with a 225 (+9).
"We have three returning players," says head coach Susan Holt. "Kristina is a junior. She is the elder statesman of the program and she had played in every single tournament her first two years. Kelly and Ashley have played in every single tournament their freshman year. On paper we are very young, but we are also very experienced. We have players who have played in conference championships and won, and lost by one shot. Both of these classes have players who have played in post season. Kristina was on that first team that advanced to the finals, first time in program history. I know with our returning players and our new players, that is a goal we have and one we hope to achieve this year. I think it is a great mix of experience that they bring to the table."
NEW FACES: Three freshmen enter the scene for the Irish in 2012, all with standout prep and junior performances. Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and company look to make an immediate impact for the Irish. Weaver is credited by being one of only two women in history to record a 59 in an 18-hole round, first being Annika Sorenstam. She qualified for the `12 U.S. Women's Open where she missed the cut with a 160(+16) at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. Weaver was named a four-time Rolex All-American and was the third-ranked prep player in the nation according to Golfweek. Katherine Guo (Arcaida, Calif.) won the Los Angeles Country Championship and has appeared in two Junior World Tours. Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas) placed fifth at the 2011 U.S. Girls Junior Championship and is a three-time 5A state champion in Texas.
"Talia and Lindsey arguable make up the top recruiting class in the country," says head coach Susan Holt. "If you look at the AJGA rankings, which is one of the three rankings out there, we have the number one class for 2012. Lindsey is ranked number two and Tailia is ranked number seven. We are the only school to have two top-ten kids coming in. Lindsey has set numerous records on the AJGA. She shot a 59 last year and what an amazing feat. She is a winner. She wins a lot of tournaments and had some great experiences in her junior golf career. She played on the Junior Solheim Golf Team and had the chance to go to Ireland last year to represent the U.S. team in a victory. She has played in a Wyndam Cup series, East vs. West, the past two summers. She has had great individual accomplishments and great team experiences."
HERE COME THE IRISH: Following the Marty Fossum Invitational, the Irish will return to action on Oct. 1-2 for the Windy City Collegiate Classic held at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill.