Nov. 13, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- Notre Dame women's golf head coach Susan Holt will tell you that the fall season is all about setting a team up for the spring. The tournaments of this first semester are about bringing a team together and getting them to realize their potential.
The Irish have recently wrapped up this fall season with a record of 28-34-2, nationally ranked at 47th and looking to climb much higher in the spring.
"I could not be happier with how this team has come together," remarks Holt. "They have mutual respect for one another and support each other in very positive ways. This has not produced the scores we need, but it can--and I think will--provide a solid foundation for us moving forward. The results we are looking for will be attainable because of the positive team culture that exists."
Holt and her team found the results of this fall to be less than what they were aiming for, but she says this is a matter of execution. Notre Dame's talent is such that she knows this team has great potential.
"We fell well short of our goal of securing a top 25 ranking in the fall," Holt explains. "The big disappointment was our team stroke average which was four shots over our goal of 298. We had issues with getting four scores that were solid (under 75) each day. We have the talent to get that done we just have to execute better. We have addressed the individual areas of concern and those will be the focal point of our out of season practice sessions. Each player has things specific to their own game that they need to work on, and we now have the time to do that."
Among the Irish golfers is only one senior, Kristina Nhim, who finished in a tie for 16th place at the IU Fall Kick Off in September. The senior's best round of the fall came at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship, where she posted a score of 74 (+2) in the second round.
"Kristina should have high expectations for team performance," Holt says. "She was on the first team to ever make it to the NCAA golf championship finals her freshman year and played on two BIG EAST championship teams. Kristina has the opportunity to be the first golfer in the history of the program to make it NCAA regionals all four years if we advance this spring."
Notre Dame's top performer is junior Ashley Armstrong, who was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I At-Large team last June and was a BIG EAST player of the week last season. Armstrong's stroke average for the fall stayed strong at 74.54, and her best round came in at 69, three below par, at the Mary Fossum Invitational. She placed second in the tournament.
Sophomore Talia Campbell also stepped up for the Irish this fall, particularly at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship and the Tar Heel Invitational. In both tournaments, Campbell carded just two over par at the end of the final round, finishing at the top of the Irish leaderboard with ties for 14th (Mercedes-Benz) and 19th (Tar Heel) place.
Junior Kelli Oride finished in 7th place at the Mary Fossum Invitational with a final score of 223 (+7). Oride's best individual round of the season came earlier that month at the IU Fall Kick Off where she fired off a one-under-par score of 71 in the second round.
The Irish also welcomed freshmen Jordan Ferreira and Janie Fineis to the squad this year. Fineis saw action in three tournaments this fall, and Ferreira established herself as a strong competitor for Notre Dame in every meet. Ferreira had the third-lowest stroke average on the team this fall, and she also had two top-25 finishes, including one in the top 10.
"Jordan had a pretty good start to her college golf career this fall. She had some high scores, which were a bit out of character for her but she had some solid rounds too," Holt explains. "I think she will continue to improve as she learns to manage the challenges of being a successful student-athlete at Notre Dame."
The promise of her players' talent causes Holt to look to the upcoming spring season with high expectations. Notre Dame will begin the spring portion of the schedule Feb. 14 at the Florida State Match-Up in Tallahassee, Fla.
"We have set the bar high for the spring, but I know we have not come close to playing the kind of golf we are capable of," Holt insists. "We just have to make our weaknesses our strengths moving forward and execute. When that happens, we will be competitive and the results will take care of themselves."
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant