April 19, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team will be in pursuit of the program’s third conference title when play begins at the 2008 BIG EAST Championship on Sunday, April 20 at the par 72, 6,080-yard Elks Run Golf Club in Batavia, Ohio. The Fighting Irish enter the three-day, 54-hole event as the top seed among the seven-team field.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION: This season marks the sixth BIG EAST Women’s Golf Championship … there are seven members of the BIG EAST Conference that field a women’s golf program and all seven schools will be represented at the tournament … the winner of this year’s conference title will gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship for the first time.
COURSE/HOST: The Elks Run Golf Club (par 72, 6,080 yards) in Batavia, Ohio and the University of Cincinnati will be first-time hosts for the event … the University of Louisville hosted last season’s championship at the Oxmoor Country Club … Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course served as host for the first three conference championships (2003-05), while the University of South Florida and the Lake Jovita Golf Club were the hosts in 2006.
FORMAT: The tournament will be comprised of 54 holes with each day consisting of one 18-hole round … each team’s lineup will have five golfers with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score … every day of the championships will begin at 8:00 a.m. (ET) … on Sunday, Notre Dame will have tee times from 9:40 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. … the teams will be reseeded on both Monday and Tuesday based on their scores from the previous round … the top-10 individuals at the conclusion of the event will be selected as members of the all-BIG EAST Team.
FIELD: Notre Dame enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed and ranked 23rd according to Golfstat … Louisville, the winner of the last two league titles, is the second seed and ranked 28th … South Florida is seeded third, while Cincinnati is fourth … rounding out the field in order of seed is Georgetown, St. John’s and Rutgers.
NOTRE DAME LINEUP:
No. 1 – Freshman So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep (FL)) has led the Irish in six of nine tournaments this season, including three of four this spring … she carries a team-best 73.12 scoring average … Park leads the Irish with two medalist finishes this season and she has placed in the top seven in all but one tournament … she captured victories at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup (Sept. 17-18) and the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9) … the rookie claimed runner-up showings at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 9-11), the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate (Oct. 26-28) and the Canes & Cards Classic (April 7-8), which was the team’s last event … she possesses a top round of 69 (-3) and a top 54-hole total of 212 (-4) … Park is the only Fighting Irish golfer to have all 26 of her rounds count towards the team score this season.
No. 2 – Freshman Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) ranks third on the team with a 76.35 scoring average this season … she has two top-10 finishes and just missed out on another one at the last event as she tied for 11th at the Canes & Cards Classic with a season-best 54-hole total of 220 (+4) … her top round is a one-over par 73, which has occurred four times this season, including twice at the Canes & Cards Classic …Conway’s top finish of the campaign occurred at the Wolverine Invitational (Sept. 29-30) where she tied for ninth … Conway has had 20 of her 26 rounds count towards the team score this season.
No. 3 – Sophomore Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep (SC)), brings a 77.15 stroke average into the BIG EAST Championship … she placed 15th at last year’s conference tournament … this season, Wetzel has notched career-best totals for a single round (71/-1) and 54-hole score (221/+5) … the one-under par 71 occurred at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup (Sept. 17), while the three-round tally came at the Rio Verde Invitational, where she also recorded a career-best finish by placing sixth … Wetzel posted a 226 (+10) to tie for 30th the last time out at the Canes & Cards Classic … the sophomore has had 20 of 26 rounds count for the team.
No. 4 – Sophomore Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) possesses a 77.04 season scoring average … she earned all-BIG EAST honors last season by pacing the Irish with a third-place finish at the conference tournament … earlier this spring, Brophy notched a career-best finish at the Rio Verde Invitational (March 7-9) as she tied for second among a field of 106 … her top round of the season, a one-under par 71, and top three-round score, an even-par 216, were achieved at the Rio Verde … last time out, she carded a 12-over par 228 to tie for 37th at the Canes & Cards Classic … Brophy has had 21 of 26 rounds scored for the team.
No. 5 – Junior Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Parkside Collegiate Institute) boasts the team’s second-best scoring average with a 75.35 mark … Maunu copped all-league accolades last season by tying for 10th at the BIG EAST tournament … as a freshman, she placed 27th at the conference championship … the team co-captain has four top-10 finishes this season, including a victory at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 9-11) … Maunu carded a school-record round of 66 (-6) at the Cougar Classic en route to winning with a program-record 54-hole total of 210 (-6) … the junior registered a 230 (+14) at the team’s last event, the Canes & Cards Classic … 21 of her 26 rounds this season have counted towards the team score.
BIG EAST HISTORY: Notre Dame captured the first-ever BIG EAST Championship in 2003 by topping runner-up Miami by 44 strokes … the Irish followed that up with another title in 2004 by 14 shots over Miami … St. John’s took the 2005 tournament, which was shortened from 54 holes to 18 due to poor weather conditions … the Red Storm finished seven strokes ahead of Georgetown … Louisville bested runner-up Georgetown by 21 shots in 2006 … last season, Louisville topped Notre Dame by one shot in the first hole of a playoff after both squads were tied after the 54-hole event … Louisville’s Cindy LaCrosse took home medalist honors at last year’s tournament … the junior is back to defend her title this season.
IRISH AT THE BIG EAST: Notre Dame will be making its sixth appearance in the BIG EAST Championship … the Fighting Irish have won the league title twice … the Irish claimed the first-ever BIG EAST Championship in 2003 and added another victory in 2004 … … in 2005, Notre Dame finished third and then tied for third in 2006 … last season, Notre Dame and Louisville were tied with identical 891 (+27) scores following the 54-hole tournament … the Cardinals topped the Irish on the first playoff hole by one shot to give the Fighting Irish a runner-up finish.
LEAGUE HONORS: The Fighting Irish have produced two BIG EAST co-medalists … Katie Brophy tied for first as a freshman at the 2003 tournament, while Karen Lotta did the same at the 2005 event during her senior campaign … eight Irish golfers have combined to collect 15 all-BIG EAST honors since the tournament began in 2003 … Noriko Nakazaki, a 2007 Notre Dame graduate, is the program record holder with four all-conference accolades … Brophy and Lotta both produced three all-BIG EAST performances during their college careers … sophomore Annie Brophy, Katie’s younger sister, and junior Lisa Maunu will be looking for their second all-conference honor this week at the Elks Run Golf Club …
LAST YEAR: Four Irish golfers earned all-conference honors at the 2007 BIG EAST Championship … Annie Brophy finished third with a 216, while Noriko Nakazaki placed fifth after carding a 219 … Julie Kim was eighth during her first-ever conference championship appearance by posting a 228 and Maunu tied for 10th with a 230 … Kristin Wetzel placed 15th as a freshman by notching a 235.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame fired a three-round total of 886 (+22) to finish fourth at the Canes & Cardinal Classic at the par 72, 6,210-yard Don Shula Golf Resort. The tournament was held April 7 & 8. Louisville took the team title with an 871 (+7). Notre Dame’s So-Hyun Park tied for second among the individuals with an even-par 216.
The first day of competition was supposed to feature the first two rounds of play, yet inclement weather halted competition halfway through the second round. The final day began with the remainder of the second round and was followed by the third and final round.
The Fighting Irish were in sixth place following a first-round tally of 298 (+10). Notre Dame posted a 299 during the second 18 holes of play before notching a spring-best 289 (+1) in the third round to move into fourth place. The total was also the low mark for any of the 14 teams in the event on the day.
Furman and Georgia State tied for second with identical 884 (+20) totals. Tulsa posted an 888 to follow the Irish and round out the top-five teams. Louisville’s first-round score of 284 (-4) was the low round of the tournament. The Cardinals and Miami co-hosted the event.
Cindy LaCrosse from Louisville copped medalist honors with a 54-hole total of 212 (67-74-71). Her five-under par 67 on Monday was the top round of the tournament. Joining Park in second was Steffi Kirchmayr from the College of Charleston and Christina Jones from South Florida. Park carded scores of 71 and 76 in the first two rounds before closing with a three-under par 69, which tied her low round of the season.
Katie Conway registered a season-best three-round total of 220 (+4) to tie for 11th for the Irish. A two-over par 74 in the second round from Conway was sandwiched between season-low marks of 73 in both the first and third rounds.
Kristin Wetzel started out with a 78 and lowered her second-round total to a 75 and knocked two more shots off that with a third-round 73. Her final tally of 226 (+10) placed her among a six-way tie for 30th.
Annie Brophy began the tournament with an 80 before posting identical marks of 74 in the final two rounds. The sophomore finished in a five-way tie at 37th with a 228 (+12).
Lisa Maunu completed the Irish lineup as she shot a 230 (+14), which placed her in a tie at 44th. After carding a 76 and 80 in the first two rounds, respectively, she fired a two-over par 74 in the third round. All five Notre Dame golfers either bested or tied their second-round score during the final 18 holes.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Head coach Susan Holt shares her thoughts heading into the BIG EAST Championship …
“Our main focus all year long has been to win the BIG EAST Championship and advance to the NCAA finals. We’ve had a good year and are in a good position to do those things, but we still have to show up these next three days and play the golf course well.”
“It’s a beautiful golf course. I like it and the players really like it. It’ll be challenging and we’ll have to put a premium on course management, but that is always a big theme for us. We have to find a way for our game to fit the golf course. We have to have a good plan and we’ll have to execute it. We also hope to continue the momentum that we picked up in Miami (at the Canes & Cards Classic). We’re hitting the ball well and we want to keep that going.”
RESULTS: Live scoring of the BIG EAST Championship is available through Golfstat.com … for more information, including results after each day’s round, log onto bigeast.org.
NEXT UP: Selections for the 2008 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship will be announced on Monday, April 28 … the 63-team field, plus nine individuals on non-qualifying teams, are divided among three regional sites (Athens, Ga., Austin, Texas, Lincoln, Calif.) … the NCAA Regionals will take place May 8-10 and the finals will take place May 20-23 in Albuquerque, N.M.