March 16, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team will head to the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational looking for its second straight victory and its fifth of the season. The 20th-ranked Fighting Irish will be part of a strong 17-team field that will tee it up at the par 72, 6,344-yard The University of Texas Golf Club for the three-day, 54-hole event.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Each team’s lineup will be comprised of five golfers with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score. The tournament, which will run from Monday, March 17 through Wednesday, March 19, will consist of 54 holes with all three days featuring 18 holes of play. Monday’s first round will begin with tee times.
FIELD: A stacked field of 17 teams will take to The University of Texas Golf Club (par 72, 6,344-yard). Five of the teams appear in the top 30 of the latest Golfstat rankings. Florida headlines the group as the Gators are fifth. Fellow Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas joins them in the top 10 at No. 10. Notre Dame is 20th, while New Mexico is 28th and TCU is 29th. Eight of the teams appear in slots 33-49. Those squads are Texas (33), Ohio State (34), Oklahoma (41), Missouri (43), Iowa State (44), Nebraska (45), Indiana (47) and Kansas (49). Completing the field in order of ranking is Kansas (68), Wisconsin (69), SMU (79) and Baylor (81).
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: Freshman So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep (FL)) is fresh off her second victory of the season and she will play from the No. 1 spot in the Notre Dame lineup. Park carries a team-best 72.81 stroke average into the eighth event of the season. The Irish freshman has finished in the top seven in six of the tournaments. She has captured victories at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup (Sept. 17-18) and the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9). Park also claimed runner-up showings at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 9-11) and the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate (Oct. 26-28). Park possesses a top round of 69 (-3) and a top 54-hole total of 212 (-4) this season.
Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) will also look to continue her hot play after notching a career-best runner-up finish at the Rio Verde Invitational. The sophomore carries a 76.52 season stroke average, which ranks her third on the squad. Brophy will be playing from the second position in the Irish lineup. Her top round this season, a one-under par 71, and top three-round score, an even-par 216, were both achieved at the Rio Verde.
Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep (SC)) will be the No. 3 golfer in the Notre Dame lineup. The sophomore is coming off a career-best 54-hole total of 221 (+5) at the Rio Verde Invitational. Her sixth-place finish at that tournament was also career-best result. Wetzel possesses a 76.71 scoring average this season. Her top round of the campaign is a career-best one-under par 71, which occurred at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup (Sept. 17).
Junior co-captain Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Parkside Collegiate Institute) ranks second on the Notre Dame squad with a 74.48 season stroke average. Maunu, who will play from the No. 4 spot, 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).
Rounding out the Fighting Irish lineup will be freshman Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River). Conway has a 76.57 scoring average with a top round of 73 (+1), which occurred twice. Her best three-round total is 226 (+10) at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup. Wetzel’s top finish of the first season occurred at the Wolverine Invitational (Sept. 29-30) where she tied for ninth.
IRISH HONORS: Notre Dame freshman So-Hyun Park was named the Golf World College Player of the Week for women’s golf for the week of March 3-9. Park won the individual title and helped the Fighting Irish claim the team crown at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9). Park topped the 106-golfer field by registering a three-round four-under par score of 212 (72-70-70) at the Rio Verde Country Club’s par 72, 6,313-yard Quail Run Course. The 54-hole total was a season-best tally for the Irish rookie. The win at the Rio Verde Invitational was Park’s second of the season.
In addition, Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course has recently been named the second-best golf course in the state of Indiana according to Golfweek magazine’s 2008 course rankings. Prairie View in Carmel was selected as the top course in the state.
The Warren Golf Course, which is located near the northeast corner of the Notre Dame campus, has received several accolades from national publications since its opening in 2000. It was hailed as one of the best new courses in America by Golf Digest and it has been featured in Links Magazine and Golf Digest as a must-play venue. In 2005, Golf Digest labeled Notre Dame’s home course as one of the top-15 college courses in the nation.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame made it a clean sweep at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational by winning the team title with a three-round, 11-over par score of 875 (294-290-291) and freshman So-Hyun Park captured medalist honors with a four-under par 212. This marked a program-record tying fourth team title for the Fighting Irish during the 2007-08 season.
The Irish entered the third and final round on Sunday, March 9 with a seven-shot lead over Minnesota. Texas Tech finished second out of the 18-team field that competed at the Rio Verde Country Club’s par 72, 6,313-yard Quail Run Course with an 893. Minnesota placed third with an 894, while Arkansas-Little Rock (908) and Eastern Michigan (909) rounded out the top five. Notre Dame’s second-round total of 290 (+2) on Saturday was the top team round of the three-day event.
Park began play on Sunday with a slim one-shot lead over Arkansas-Little Rock’s Mallory Fraiche. The Notre Dame freshman carded the tournament’s top round on the day with a two-under par 70, which matched her second-round score from Saturday, to hold on and win the crown with a season-best score of 212 (72-70-70).
The Fighting Irish made it a one-two finish as sophomore Annie Brophy tied a career-best score with an even-par 216 (71-73-72). The second-place result marked Brophy’s top collegiate finish, while her first-round tally of 71 (-1) matched the top 18-hole score of her Notre Dame career.
In all, Notre Dame placed three golfers in the top six of the 106-golfer field. Kristin Wetzel finished sixth with a 54-hole total of 221 (74-72-75). Both the placing and five-over par final score were career-best figures for the sophomore.
Junior co-captain captain Lisa Maunu shot a two-over par 74 on Sunday to conclude the event with a 14-over par 230 (81-75-74) and among a five-way for 26th. Notre Dame freshman Katie Conway fired a three-round total of 232 (77-76-79) and finished in a tie for 33rd to complete the Irish scoring lineup.
Fighting Irish sophomore Julie Kim competed as an individual entrant and registered a 237 (77-80-80). This was the first event of the 2007-08 campaign for Kim.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Notre Dame opened the 2007-08 campaign with wins at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 9-11), Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup (Sept. 17-18) and at the Wolverine Invitational (Sept. 29-30). This season signifies the first time in program history that Notre Dame has ever won three straight tournaments. The Fighting Irish won their program-record tying fourth tournament of the season at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9). Notre Dame also won four times during both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
RESULTS: Live scoring of the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational can be followed at Golfstat.com. Full results will also be posted on www.TexasSports.com.
NEXT UP: Notre Dame returns to action at the Canes & Cards Classic in Miami, Fla. on April 6-8. The tournament will be played at the Don Shula Golf Club.