Nov. 16, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Two-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year Susan Holt (2007-08, 2010-11) and the University of Notre Dame women's golf team concluded the fall portion of the 2012-13 season with a 49-13-0 record, including six victories over teams ranked in the nation's top-25. The 13 head-to-head losses all came against teams that ended the fall season in the top-25 poll.
"We have tremendous depth and have five players that can shoot par or better at any given time," says Holt. "I believe their confidence is very high in each other and in themselves. Success stems from confidence and I think the team's success in the fall will give them the confidence needed to get through our long and competitive spring schedule. My philosophy is to play a challenging schedule and win or be competitive. Our goal this fall and into the spring will be to try and win each event or finish in the top five. We finished in the top-5 in three of four events in the fall so I think we are on track heading into the spring."
The Irish climbed to No. 14 in the Golfstat rankings (Nov. 14) and No. 17 in the Golfweek's rankings (Nov. 9). The team's No. 14 ranking is Notre Dame's best mid-season ranking in program history. The Irish have combined through four tournaments with a team stroke average of 296.4 per round and a combined individual stroke average of 74.89.
Freshman Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) currently ranks as the No 1 golfer in the nation according to Golfstat's NCAA rankings (Nov. 14) poll and ranks No. 3 by Golfweek (Nov. 9). The Irish rookie is current 10-0 against top-10 opponents and 23-0 against top-50 opponents. Weaver was additionally named the BIG EAST Golf Player of the Month during the month of October.
The Irish began their 2012-13 campaign at Michigan State's Mary Fossum Invitational (Sept. 15-16) on the par-72 Forest Akers Golf Course (6,348 yards) in East Lansing, Mich. Notre Dame finished third out 16 teams and fired a team total of a 23-over-par 887 (298-290-299).
The Irish closed out the tournament just five strokes behind second-place No. 13/17 (Golfweek/Golfstat) Michigan State, but later defeated the Spartans at the Land Fall Traditon. Sophomore Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) fired her career-best round with a two-under-par 70. Oride also gathered her career-best 54-hole performance with a six-over-par 222 (77-70-75) obtaining her second top-10 finish and fifth top-25 finish of her career after tying for ninth.
Freshmen Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas) and Weaver each captured a top-ten finish at the Windy City Classic, hosted by Northwestern (Oct. 1-2) in Golf, lll. at Glen View Golf Club's par-72 course (6,333 yards). The pair currently ranks No. 7 in Golfstat's top freshman class (Nov. 14) with a 73.55 season stroke average.
The freshmen duo each captured an eagle during the outing with Campbell obtaining a total of two. Weaver matched Becca Huffer's ('12) five-under-par 211 54-hole tournament score tying for the top runner-up finish in program history.
Weaver's scorecard also tied Huffer for the third-best 54-tournament score since the program began in the fall of 1988. Oride led the field of 81 participants with the most pars in the tournament (43). Notre Dame finished seventh out of 15 teams firing a 29-over-par 893 (294-294-305). The Irish chased close behind No. 11/11 Oklahoma State and No. 24/25 Iowa State by two strokes as the pair tied for fifth.
Sophomore Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, lll.) matched her first tournament scorecard firing an eight-over-par 224 (75-77-72) at the University of Oklahoma's Susie Maxwell Berning Classic (Oct. 15-17) held on the Jimmy Austin OU Golf Club's par-72 course (6,327 yards) in Norman, Okla. Armstrong tied for 13th place and earned her eighth career top-25 finish.
Junior Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calf.) had her best outing of the fall firing an 11-over-par 227 (77-78-72) with a season high 30th place finish. Notre Dame combined for a 24-over-par 888 scorecard (289-310-289). The Irish finished second out 18 teams trailing No. 2/5 Oklahoma by 29 strokes and surpassing No. 32/NR Denver by ten strokes. The Irish defeated the 2012 BIG EAST champions, South Florida, by 36 strokes in the tournament after finishing behind the Bulls last April by a single stroke.
Hurricane Sandy put an early end to the Irish's final fall tournament at The Landfall Tradition (Oct. 26-28) in Wilmington, N.C. at the Country Club of Landfall's par-72 course (6,138 yards) after weather inclinations cancelled play midway through the second round.
The Irish fired an eight-over-par 296 placing fifth out of 17 teams and improved five positions from last year's finish. Weaver led Notre Dame with a two-under-par 70 tying for third place. The freshman's finish marked her third tournament firing even or under par.
"While the fall was good we all know it can be better and needs to be better if we want to be contending for a national championship in May," says Holt. We have to be ready to play despite the conditions. We cannot let the conditions dictate how we will play. Good players can play in any conditions (rain/wind). It is all about having a positive attitude and not letting yourself come up with excuses to play bad. It is like giving yourself permission to play bad before you tee it up. We had some challenging conditions in the fall and some players handled it better than others. As a team we have to get better in this area if we want to be a real contender this spring."
To date, Weaver holds the best round of the season with a four-under-par 68, and Armstrong leads the career high with a five-under-par 67 for active roster members.
Weaver ties Nhim with four top-10 career finishes however Nhim currently leads all active roster members with nine top-25 finishes in a career.
Armstrong is the only current roster member to win a tournament as she did so last year at the BIG EAST Championship firing a seven-over-par 223 (73-77-73).
All five golfers have at least one top-10 finish in collegiate play and each finished the fall slate firing at least one round even or under par. Weaver leads the team with seven followed by Oride with three.
"We had several rounds where the team was well under par (5 and 6 under) and both times ended up shooting one-over-par," says Holt. "When we get under par we need to keep it there. We have to get comfortable with being under par. Once we can do that it will become expected and easier to finish it off. This team overall has the talent to have a record-breaking year and I am excited for the spring to see where our talent takes us."
Notre Dame will begin the spring portion of the schedule on Feb. 15, 2013 as the Irish participate in the three-day Mash Up Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla. at the Southwood Golf Club.