May 2, 2016
By Chris Masters
2016 NCAA Birmingham Regional
DATES: May 5-7, 2016
TIMES*: 7:30 a.m. CT (Thursday) / TBA (Friday-Saturday)
AT: Birmingham, Alabama – Shoal Creek Club (par 72 / 6,470 yards)
TICKETS: Free admission
1ST REGIONAL: 2004 (17th-Central)
LAST REGIONAL: 2015 (8th-South Bend)
LIVE STATS: Golfstat.com
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @NDwomensGolf
* – Notre Dame begins Thursday from No. 10 tee; Friday and Saturday tee times/locations based on 18- and 36-hole scores
- Notre Dame is making its ninth consecutive NCAA regional appearance and the 11th in school history.
- The Fighting Irish have posted six top-five finishes this season, their highest total since 2012-13 and the fourth time in the Susan Holt era they have earned at least six top-five finishes.
Fighting Irish Bound For NCAA Birmingham Regional
After nearly eight months criss-crossing the country and compiling the lowest single-season stroke average in program history (295.34), Notre Dame sharpens its focus to three days in Alabama as the Fighting Irish tee off in the 2016 NCAA Birmingham Regional at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET) Thursday at the historic Shoal Creek Club (par 72/6,470 yards). Notre Dame is seeded 10th in the 18-team field and will begin Thursday’s first round on the No. 10 tee at Shoal Creek.
The Fighting Irish arrive at this year’s NCAA regional after a 10th-place finish at the ACC Championship (904/+40), followed by the University’s final exam period that ends Friday.
Senior captain Talia Campbell led Notre Dame at the ACC Championship for the third year in a row, placing ninth at 218 (+2).
- Notre Dame is 40th in the latest Golfstat rankings and 35th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index ratings.
Senior captain Talia Campbell ranks eighth in the ACC with a career-low 73.21 stroke average this season, having placed in the top 10 in six of 10 tournaments to date.
From The Tee Box
- Notre Dame is making its 11th appearance in NCAA regional play, including its ninth in a row (with current head coach Susan Holt leading the way during this active nine-year run). The Fighting Irish have advanced to the NCAA Championship once in their previous 10 regional appearances, placing 22nd at the NCAA finals in 2011.
- The Fighting Irish are one of a record-setting 10 Atlantic Coast Conference teams that have qualified for NCAA regionals this season, one more than the past two years’ marks for ACC participation. Three of this year’s 10 ACC qualifiers will compete at this weekend’s NCAA Birmingham Regional, with Florida State and Clemson also part of the 18-team field.
- For the second consecutive year and third time in four years, Notre Dame is on pace to record the lowest single-season stroke average in program history (295.34; current mark is 296.60 in 2014-15). The Fighting Irish presently rank fourth in the ACC in team stroke average, behind only Duke, Florida State and two-time defending league champion Virginia.
- Since head coach Susan Holt’s arrival in 2006-07, the Fighting Irish have trimmed more than 10 strokes off their team stroke average and are poised to card a sub-300 season average for the fourth time in six years after never previously finishing a season with a team stroke average below 300.
- The Fighting Irish have finished in the top five in six of 10 tournaments this year, including a pair of victories — Sept. 12-13 at the season-opening Mary Fossum Invitational in East Lansing, Michigan, and Oct. 5-6 at the Chip-N Club Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska. Notre Dame also earned runner-up honors at the high-powered Landfall Tradition on Oct. 23-25 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
- Three members of this year’s Notre Dame lineup own three of the top 10 single-season stroke averages in program history. Senior captain Talia Campbell ranks second (73.21), freshman Emma Albrecht is sixth (74.21) and rookie Isabella DiLisio stands 10th (74.69). Should their averages hold up, it would mark the third time in four years the Fighting Irish have had three players record sub-75 stroke average in the same season — with Campbell being part of the sub-75 trio in all three of those campaigns.
- Campbell enters the NCAA Birmingham Regional ranked eighth in the ACC with her career-low 73.21 stroke average. The Notre Dame veteran is one of three Fighting Irish golfers currently ranked among the top 25 in stroke average among the powerful ACC, with Albrecht placing 21st and DiLisio checking in at No. 24.
- Albrecht, DiLisio and Maddie Rose Hamilton (75.48) make up the nation’s No. 4-rated freshman class, according to the latest rankings from Golfstat. All three rookies have at least one top-10 finish and at least one round in the 60s on their resume this season.
Fighting Irish At The NCAA Regionals
- Notre Dame will be making its 11th trip to the NCAA regionals, looking to move on to the NCAA Championship for the second time. The Fighting Irish previously punched their ticket for the NCAA finals in 2011, and also finished in the top 15 at the regional level on three other occasions in addition to their 2011 advancement, with all four top-15 outings coming within the past five years (2012, 2013 and 2015).
- Last season’s eighth-place finish at the NCAA South Bend Regional was the closest Notre Dame has come to returning to the NCAA Championship since its debut finals appearance in 2011, with the Fighting Irish ending up just six shots off the cut line in 2015 at their own Warren Golf Course.
- Noriko Nakazaki qualified as an individual participant for the 2007 NCAA Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Nakazaki tied for 18th place in the 107-player field at 224 (+11) after a final-round 79, missing one of the two individual qualifier spots for the NCAA Championship by six strokes (one of those qualification berths went to future two-time LPGA Player of the Year and two-time LPGA major champion Stacy Lewis).
Susan Holt At The NCAA Regionals
- Head coach Susan Holt will lead Notre Dame into NCAA regional action for the ninth time in her 10-year tenure under the Golden Dome. In that time, the Fighting Irish have reached the NCAA Championship once (2011).
- Holt also achieved success at the NCAA regional level during her 13 seasons at South Florida. While in Tampa, Holt led the Bulls to seven NCAA regionals, advancing to the NCAA Championship in 2001 and 2002.
- During the past 23 years (1994-present), Holt has piloted her teams to a combined 16 NCAA regional berths and three NCAA Championship appearances, plus five other seasons when the Dayton, Ohio, native coached an individual participant in NCAA regional competition.
Looking Back: Notre Dame at the 2015 NCAA South Bend Regional
The Notre Dame women’s golf team piled up numerous program records during the 2015 NCAA South Bend Regional at the Warren Golf Course. In the end, each Fighting Irish player and coach would have traded every single record and milestone for six fewer strokes, the scant margin that wound up separating Notre Dame from a trip to the NCAA Championship.
The Fighting Irish carded a final-round 299 to finish the three-day tournament at 30-over par 894 (302-293-299), good for eighth place in the 18-team field and their best finish in a NCAA regional since a fifth-place effort in the 2011 Central Regional. Notre Dame ended six shots behind Purdue for the sixth and final qualification spot into the NCAA finals, despite posting the lowest 54-hole score in a NCAA regional in program history, eclipsing the previous mark of 901, also set on the Warren Golf Course in 2011.
In addition, the Fighting Irish tallied two of the five lowest NCAA regional single-round scores in school annals during the tournament. Only three other times in Notre Dame women’s golf history had the Fighting Irish shot better than 300 in a single regional round — 292 in the first round of the 2013 NCAA East Regional at Auburn, Alabama, and matching scores of 298 in the first and third rounds of the aforementioned 2011 regional.
Junior all-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection Talia Campbell and sophomore Jordan Ferreira were Notre Dame’s top finishers at the NCAA South Bend Regional, tying for 19th place in the 96-golfer field at five-over par 221 (Campbell shooting 77-73-71, while Ferreira posted rounds of 73-72-76). It was fifth-best showing for Notre Dame on an individual regional leaderboard and best since both Nicole Zhang (eighth) and Kristina Nhim (14th) had top-20 showings in 2011.
Together, Campbell and Ferreira also shared the Fighting Irish record for the best 54-hole individual score at a NCAA regional, one stroke better than the previous mark held by Lindsey Weaver at the 2013 NCAA East Regional. What’s more, Campbell’s final-round 71 tied the program record for a single regional round, a score first registered by Zhang in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Central Regional and tied by Campbell herself in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA East Regional.
“We certainly had every opportunity to advance out of the regional — we just didn’t get the job done,” Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. “We had some great individual rounds, but just couldn’t get the four solid rounds we needed all three days. This stings a bit right now, knowing how close we were to advancing. Playing against competition like this really puts an emphasis on how every stroke really does matter.”
Senior Kelli Oride put a period on her college career with a tie for 34th place at the NCAA South Bend Regional, firing a nine-over par 225 (75-73-77). It was the veteran’s best finish in four NCAA regional appearances, while her three single-round scores all were the best she has ever posted in NCAA regional competition.
Senior captain Ashley Armstrong likewise brought down the curtain on her time at Notre Dame with a 41st-place tie in the NCAA South Bend Regional at 11-over par 227 (77-75-75).
Freshman Kari Bellville wrapped up her rookie season under the Golden Dome with a tie for 72nd place at 17-over par 233 (78-77-78).
Duke won the 2015 NCAA South Bend Regional at 873 (+9), three shots better than fellow ACC member Wake Forest. UC Davis (884), Arizona (886), Tulane (888) and Purdue (888) also qualified for the NCAA Championship from the regional at Notre Dame.
Duke’s Leona Maguire (212) edged teammate Celine Boutier by one stroke for medalist honors at the NCAA South Bend Regional. The three individual qualifiers to come out of South Bend were Michaela Fletcher (Memphis), Leilanie Kim (Idaho) and Isabelle Johansson (Kentucky), with Johansson’s par on the third playoff hole besting teammate Haley Mills’ bogey. Kent State’s Taylor Kim was ousted from the three-person playoff with a bogey on the second playoff hole (Johansson and Mills collected pars on their first two extra holes).
Other Tidbits From The NCAA Birmingham Regional
- With her opening tee shot on Thursday morning, Notre Dame senior captain Talia Campbell will be the fifth player in program history to compete in four NCAA regional tournaments. The other Fighting Irish golfers with four NCAA regional appearances are Becca Huffer (2009-12), Kristina Nhim (2011-14), Ashley Armstrong (2012-15) and Kelli Oride (2012-15).
- Campbell owns two of the four lowest 54-hole regional scores in program history. Last year’s she and current junior Jordan Ferreira both carded a school-record 221 (+5) in the NCAA South Bend Regional at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course. In addition, Campbell shot 223 (+7) in her NCAA postseason debut (2013 East Regional) at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Alabama.
- Only one Notre Dame golfer has posted a team-best finish in three NCAA regionals — Huffer led the Fighting Irish in 2009, 2010 and 2012, while ironically being the team’s No. 3 finisher the year Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Championship in 2011 (although she was the top Fighting Irish golfer at the NCAA finals that year). Campbell could join Huffer, Armstrong (2012, 2014) and Noriko Nakazaki (2004, 2005) as the only Fighting Irish golfers to record multiple team-leading finishes in NCAA regional play.
- Notre Dame has registered the three lowest NCAA regional 54-hole team scores in program history during its past five postseason appearances. In addition to last year’s record-setting 894 (+30), the Fighting Irish shot 901 (+37) in 2011 and 908 (+44) in 2013, the latter being Notre Dame’s best-ever regional score away from its own Warren Golf Course.
- Listed at 6,470 yards for the NCAA Birmingham Regional, the Shoal Creek Club will be the longest course Notre Dame has seen since Sept. 9, 2013, when it competed in the 36-hole Indiana Fall Kickoff at the 6,631-yard Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville, Indiana. The Fighting Irish participated only as individual competitors in the one-day event and did not factor into the team scoring that afternoon, although Ferreira posted a career-best tie for eighth place in her college debut, shooting 149 (+5), while Campbell began her second season at Notre Dame in a 16th-place tie at 151 (+7).
- Shoal Creek also will be the longest course the Fighting Irish have played on in their 11 NCAA regional appearances. The previous longest course Notre Dame saw in a regional tournament was in 2010, when it played at the 6,417-yard Otter Creek Golf Club in Columbus, Indiana.
- This year’s 18-team NCAA Birmingham Regional field features 13 squads that appear in the top 50 of the current published Golfstat ratings, led by top seed (and No. 1-ranked host) Alabama. The others, listed in order of their seed, are as follows: No. 8 Northwestern, No. 9 Oklahoma State, No. 16 California, No. 17 Iowa State, No. 22 Florida State, No. 25 Tennessee, No. 32 Missouri, No. 36 Purdue, No. 40 Notre Dame, No. 41 Vanderbilt, No. 47 Clemson and No. 50 Michigan. Of these 13 top-50 squads, three earned automatic bids from their respective conferences (Alabama – SEC; Northwestern – Big Ten; Oklahoma State – Big 12), while the other nine teams collected at-large bids to the regional.
- Notre Dame owns a 7-6 (.538) record against the other 17 teams in this year’s NCAA Birmingham Regional field. Included in that mark are winning or .500 records this season against top-seeded Alabama (1-0), No. 3 seed Oklahoma State (1-1), ninth-seeded Purdue (1-0), No. 12 seed Clemson (1-1), 13th-seeded Michigan (1-0) and No. 17 seed Oakland (1-0).
Tournament #10 Recap: ACC Championship
Notre Dame saved its best for last at the ACC Championship, carding a final-round 295 on the way to a 10th-place finish at 40-over par 904 (310-299-295) as the 28th annual league event concluded April 17 at the historic Sedgefield Country Club (par 72/6,089 yards) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Fighting Irish showed significant improvement throughout the three-day tournament on the way to securing their ninth top-10 finish in 10 events this season. In fact, the final-round score of seven-over par 295 was the eighth time Notre Dame has shot 296 or lower in its last 12 rounds of conference tournament play, dating back to the 2013 BIG EAST Championship.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed in our 10th-place finish,” Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. “I think it shows the depth of the conference that I spoke of prior to the championship (with 10 teams in the Golfstat Top 50). I’m very proud of how the team responded with better rounds each of the last two days. While it wasn’t enough to move us up in the standings, it showed how resilient they are.”
Senior captain Talia Campbell etched her name in the Fighting Irish record book with a team-leading ninth-place finish at two-over par 218 (76-70-72). Campbell is the first Notre Dame golfer in the program’s 28-year history to be the top Fighting Irish individual at four consecutive conference tournaments and the fifth Notre Dame golfer ever to record four consecutive top-15 finishes in conference tournament play (first since Becca Huffer from 2009-12, all during BIG EAST Championship play).
As if that wasn’t enough, Campbell earned her sixth top-10 finish in 10 outings this season, as well as the 12th of her career. The native Texan now has placed in the top 20 in nine tournaments this year and 14 of her last 16 events, stretching back to the start of the spring 2015 season.
In addition, Campbell was the leading Fighting Irish individual for the sixth consecutive tournament and seventh time this year, the latter mark tying for fourth on the program’s single-season chart. It also was Campbell’s 21st career team-leading effort, two shy of Noriko Nakazaki’s school record set from 2003-07.
“I’m really proud of Talia and her ninth-place finish,” Holt said. “It’s such a great achievement in such a competitive field. This is a very demanding course and her steady play for 54 holes was really impressive.”
Freshman Emma Albrecht capped off a solid ACC Championship debut with a tie for 17th place at six-over par 222 (75-74-73). It was Albrecht’s sixth top-20 finish of her rookie season, and it marked the fifth time in six years Notre Dame had a freshman finish in the top 20 at the conference tournament.
Albrecht’s classmate, Isabella DiLisio, was Notre Dame’s biggest mover in the final round, climbing nine places to finish 44th overall at 15-over par 231 (81-77-73). DiLisio punctuated her strong closing round on her final hole with a picture-perfect 40-foot birdie putt from the front right fringe that snaked across Sedgefield’s No. 9 green before finding the cup, to the cheers of the patrons and her beaming head coach.
Freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton had an up-and-down weekend in her inaugural trip to the ACC Championship, winding up in a 52nd-place tie at 19-over par 235 (78-78-79).
Junior Jordan Ferreira posted her best round of the tournament to finish, moving up to 56th place at 25-over par 241 (83-81-77).
Records Are Made To Be Broken
Notre Dame is on pace to set a program record for single-season stroke average, with this year’s mark of 295.34 currently more than one shot ahead of the current Fighting Irish mark of 296.60 set last year.
Should this season’s average hold up, it also would be the fourth sub-300 mark in school history, with all four totals coming in the past six years (the 2010-11 squad posted a 299.70 stroke average while the 2012-13 club ended with a 298.70 ratio).
Next Tournament: NCAA Championship
The top six teams and top three individuals not on an advancing team will move on to the 2016 NCAA Championship, to be held May 20-25 at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon.
This year’s NCAA finals will feature 54 holes of stroke play to determine the top 15 teams in the 24-team field. Those 15 squads will play another 18 holes to determine the final eight teams that will compete in single-elimination match play to determine the NCAA champion. The NCAA medalist will be decided based on 72 holes of stroke play.
Golf Channel will offer live coverage of the final round of stroke play and all three rounds of match play at this year’s NCAA Championship, as well as online at golfchannel.com. Additional coverage of earlier rounds at the NCAA Championship (including highlights and interviews) will be provided online and through the network’s various daily shows, including “Golf Central” and “Morning Drive.”
— ND —
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s golf and women’s basketball programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).