March 16, 2012
Mesa, Ariz. –
The Notre Dame women’s golf team opened play at the 2012 Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament with its best 18-hole performance of the season, firing an even par, 288 on Friday afternoon. That closes the first day of play with the Irish in second place, just 11 strokes behind first-round leader Colorado after the Buffs opened with an 11-under par mark of 277.
The inaugural Clover Cup Tournament is being played at the par-72, 6,209-yard Longbow Golf Club. Notre Dame’s opening round 288 marks just the fourth time in the program’s history that the Irish have shot an even-par total or better in a single round with the record being a three-under 281 in the second round of the 2008-09 Heather Farr Memorial. They have shot rounds of 288, four other times.
Notre Dame is led by freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) who shot a career-best, five-under par 67, to place second in the individual standings, one stroke behind Colorado’s Emily Tally who opened with a six-under par 66. Armstrong’s 67 ties for the third-lowest round in school history and is the best round of her career, beating her previous best (71) by four strokes. She opened her round with a four-under par 32 for the front nine and was one-under for the back nine for her 67.
The Irish will go into Saturday’s second round with a one-stroke lead over third-place Oklahoma as the Sooners fired an opening round 289. Florida International and Furman are tied for fourth after 18 holes as both schools shot a four-over par 292.
Minnesota (293), Tulsa (294), Iowa State (295) and Texas Tech (296) all shot under 300 for the day and are within eight strokes of the Irish with 36 holes left to play.
Individually, 17 players shot even par or better at the Longbow Golf Club to join Armstrong and Tally in the battle for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Joining Armstrong for the Irish, in the top 14 are senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) as both golfers shot even-par 72 in Friday’s opening round to tie for 14th. For Huffer, it was her third round this season of par-or-better golf while Nhim’s 72 was her lowest score of the season and equaled her career best.
Huffer was two-over par on the front nine and followed with a two-under mark on the back nine for her 72. Nhim shot a 37 on the front and a 35 on the back for her round of 72.
Rounding out the Notre Dame contingent was freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) and senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) as the duo each had five-over par 77s for their best rounds of the spring schedule. They will start Saturday’s middle round tied for 38th.
In the battle for the top spot, Tulsa’s Kristina Merkle and Colorado’s Alex Stewart shot four-under par rounds of 68 and they trail Armstrong by one stroke for second and Talley by two for first place.
Furman’s Daffodil Sanchez is three strokes off the lead with a three-under par 69 with four golfers tied for sixth with two-under par 70s.
The second round of the 2012 Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament will start at 8:00 a.m. (MT) on Saturday morning with set tee times. The Irish will be paired with Colorado and Oklahoma and start on the first hole beginning at 8:40 a.m.
The 2012 Clover Cup Tournament features 10 teams ranked in this week’s Golfweek/Sagarin golf rankings with five of those teams – Colorado (#15), Texas Tech (#29), Oklahoma (#30), Iowa State (#33), Tulsa (#35) – ranked in the top 50.
TEAM RESULTS (18-hole totals): 1. Colorado 277; 2. Notre Dame 288; 3. Oklahoma 289; t4. Florida International 292; Furman 292; 6. Minnesota 293; 7. Tulsa 294; 8. Iowa State 295; 9. Texas Tech 296; 10. SMU 302; 11. Michigan 306; 12. Cincinnati 323.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 71): 1. Emily Talley (Colorado) 66; 2. Ashley Armstrong (Notre Dame) 67; t3. Kristina Merkle (Tulsa) 68; Alex Stewart (Colorado) 68; 5. Daffodil Sanchez (Furman) 69; t6.Carmen Laguna (Minnesota) 70; Kimberly Kaufman (Texas Tech) 70; Prima Thammaraks (Iowa State) 70; Jessica Wallace (Colorado) 70; t10. Shelby Cole (Florida International) 71; Chirapat Jao-Javanil (Oklahoma) 71; Tania Tare (Florida International) 71; Laura Wearn (Furman) 71.