July 24, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – If the old saying is true that an athlete’s biggest growth comes during the summer when no one is watching, the University of Notre Dame women’s golf team has much to be excited about entering the 2015-16 season.
Incoming freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) is the latest Fighting Irish golfer to build a strong resume of success this summer, capped by her selection to the East Team roster for the 26th annual American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Wyndham Cup, which will take place July 28-30 at the Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The prestigious Wyndham Cup features 40 of the country’s top junior golfers in an East-versus-West team match play tournament. With the Mississippi River as the boundary between the two teams, 10 boys and 10 girls from each side are selected based on the AJGA/Polo Golf Rankings, which reward top finishes in national junior golf tournaments.
Hamilton earned her East Team roster spot for the Wyndham Cup by rising as high as No. 31 in the nation in the latest AJGA/Polo Golf Rankings, thanks to a remarkable 2015 campaign that has seen her finish in the top 10 in five of six AJGA tournaments. Among her summer highlights thus far, Hamilton won the AJGA Music City Junior on June 1, placed second at the Under Armour/Jeff Overton Championship hosted by Otter Creek on June 29 and finished fifth at the AJGA/Rolex Tournament of Champions on June 22.
“This is a huge honor and a great reward for the year Maddie has had,” said Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt. “I’m really happy for her to get this opportunity to play in one of the most prestigious events on the AJGA schedule.
“I think Maddie will thrive in this format,” Holt added. “She loves to compete and this format really brings out the fight in someone. I sure wouldn’t want to go up against her.”
Since the Wyndham Cup debuted in 1990, the West Team leads the all-time series with a 13-9-3 record, and two of the last three Wyndham Cups have ended in a 25-25 tie. The East retained the Cup with a tie in 2012 at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, while the West won in 2013 and then retained possession of the Cup after playing to a stalemate in 2014 at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Some of the notable alumnae of the Wyndham Cup include five members of the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team – Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Lexi Thompson.
This year’s Wyndham Cup will feature five formats – four-ball, mixed four-ball, foursomes, mixed foursomes and singles. A total of 50 points is available, and every player competes in singles matches and three of the four other formats. Morning and afternoon matches will be played July 28-29 before the competition concludes with 20 singles matches on July 30.
Hamilton isn’t the only Notre Dame golfer finding success this summer. Sophomore Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) and freshman Emma Albrecht (Ormond Beach, Fla./Father Lopez) both qualified as alternates for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, to be played Aug. 10-16 at the Portland Golf Club in Portland, Oregon.
Bellville carded an even-par 72 at the U.S Women’s Amateur sectional qualifier on July 13 at Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club in Grosse Ile, Michigan. She earned the first alternate spot following a five-person playoff that determined remaining three of five automatic qualifiers, as well as two alternates to come from the Grosse Ile sectional.
“Kari has worked really hard on her game this summer while she’s been on campus taking summer classes,” Holt said. “I would love to see her get a spot in the Amateur. She played well in the qualifier and her being able to compete right now and put her game to the test would be key for her confidence.”
Albrecht, who also was an alternate for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, shot an even-par 72 in her sectional qualifier on July 17 at the Vero Beach Country Club in Vero Beach, Florida. Albrecht finished three strokes back of the sectional winner and was the second alternate to emerge from the Vero Beach qualifier after edging Tezira Abe in a playoff for the final alternate position. The final six automatic qualifying spots and the first alternate spot in Vero Beach went to players who shot 71 and sorted out their qualifications through a seven-person playoff.
Albrecht has been a standout on the Florida State Golf Association (FSGA) Junior Tour this season, currently ranking 14th on the points list. She has five top-10 finishes in seven tournaments during the 2015 campaign, most recently sharing medalist honors during stroke qualifying at the FSGA Junior Amateur Match Play Championship on Thursday in Tampa, Florida.
“Emma has had a solid summer and her game is progressing nicely as she prepares to come to Notre Dame this fall,” Holt said. “It would be great for her game if she can get into the field, too.”
The Fighting Irish are expected to have three starters (all-Atlantic Coast Conference senior Talia Campbell, junior Jordan Ferreira and Bellville) and five veterans returning next season. Albrecht, Hamilton and fellow incoming freshman Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) – a member of the 2015 U.S. Junior World Cup Team – will join the fold this fall, making up a rookie class that features three of the nation’s top 50 players in the Class of 2015, something only one other school in the country (the University of Georgia) can match.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s golf program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s golf Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or (@NDwomensGolf) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
– Chris Masters, Athletic Communications Associate Director