May 7, 2005
LUBBOCK, Texas – In the final round of the season, the Notre Dame women’s golf team shot a 17-over par 305 to finish the NCAA Central Regional in 18th-place with a 934 (+70) total at the par 72, 6,328-yard Jerry S. Rawls Golf Course on Saturday afternoon. The Irish could not make up a significant amount of strokes during the day’s action to crack the top-eight of the 21-team field and advance to the NCAA Championship. Sophomore Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) collected her 10th career team-leading tournament effort for the Irish with a 14-over par 230 (75-80-75) to place tied for 37th.
Auburn claimed the team title by posting a 32-over par 896 for the three rounds of play. The Tigers entered Saturday’s competition as part of a four-way tie for first before registering a five-over par 293, which was the low round of the day. Joining Auburn as qualifiers for the NCAA Championship from the Central Regional will be Texas A&M, Missouri, Arizona State, Tulsa, Purdue, Michigan State and Arkansas. Those squads along with the top-eight teams from the East and West Regionals will battle it out for the national championship at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon May 17-20. The Fighting Irish, who played in strong winds the first two rounds, finished 19 shots out of the eighth and final spot.
Auburn’s Diana Ramage began the day two shots off the pace yet fired a tournament-best round with a five-under par 67 to claim stake to the medalist honors with a three-round total of 212 (68-77-67), which is four-under par. Arizona State’s Louise Stahle and Tulsa’s Lee Anne Pace joined Ramage in the top-three of the 107-golfer field with respective scores of 219 and 221.
Senior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) concluded her Notre Dame career by firing a six-over par 78 on Saturday to give her a three-round tally of 234 (75-81-78), which was 18-over par and placed her in a tie for 60th overall. Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) matched Nakazaki for the best round of the day for the Irish with a three-over par 75. That score was an eight-shot improvement for Brophy from her second round total of 83. The junior co-captain ended up tied for 68th with a 20-over par 236 (78-83-75).
“I was disappointed with how I shot on the front-nine today,” said Nakazaki. “But I came back with a strong back-nine and I was happy with that. Shooting 80 yesterday was not a good thing but I can’t blame that on the wind because I usually like playing in the wind. I’m just happy with how we finished strong today and we keep getting closer and closer and I think next year will be our year to make it to finals.”
In a return to her home state of Texas, sophomore Stacy Brown (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) carded a 21-over par 54-hole total of 237 (78-79-80) to place in a tie for 77th. And just as Brophy knocked eight strokes off her second round total so did her freshman teammate Jane Lee (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula). Lee fired a five-over par 77 on Saturday to finish tied for 94th with a 27-over score of 243 (81-85-77).
Last year the Irish placed 17th with a 952 (+100) total in the program’s first-ever trip to an NCAA regional, with Nakazaki leading the way with a team-best 54-hole total of 233 (+20). Each Irish golfer in this year’s regional lineup, except for Lee, played in the NCAAs one year ago. Not only did the Irish shoot better as a team this year, all four of the returning golfers produced better scores than they did one year ago.
“It’s a bitter-sweet ending to the season,” stated Notre Dame head coach Debby King. “I’m happy that we finished with a 305 but it’s too bad we shot ourselves out of it yesterday. I thought it was good how we came back today and shot one of the better rounds, that was not an easy thing to do. I am also pleased that we improved over last year’s score. We keep improving year to year and you can’t complain about that.”
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NCAA Central Regional (Jerry S. Rawls Golf Course – Lubbock, Texas, Par 72, 6,328-yards)
FINAL TEAM RESULTS (54-hole totals):
1. Auburn*, 896 (294-309-293), 2. Texas A&M* 903 (293-310-300), 3. Missouri* 905 (291-312-302), 4. Arizona State* 906 (296-310-300), 5t. Tulsa* 908 (298-310-300), 5t. Purdue* 908 (295-309-304), 7. Michigan State* 909 (300-307-302), 8. Arkansas* 915 (300-311-304), 9. Texas 916 (290-317-309), 10. LSU 917 (298-316-303), 11t. Kent State 921 (305-307-309), 11t. SMU 921 (310-313-298), 13t. Baylor 923 (302-301-320), 13t. New Mexico 923 (291-332-300), 15 Michigan 926 (301-320-305), 16. Texas Tech 932 (301-318-313), 17. Wake Forest 933 (302-315-316), 18. NOTRE DAME 934 (306-323-305), 19. TCU 938 (299-328-311), 20. South Florida 950 (314-317-319), 21. Long Island 1,041 (349-343-349).
FINAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (top 5 of 107):
1. Diana Ramage (Auburn) 212 (68-77-67), 2. Louise Stahle (Arizona State) 219 (72-77-70), 3. Lee Anne Pace (Tulsa) 221 (73-77-71), 4t. Lisa Ferrero (Texas) 222 (70-73-79), 4t. Alissa Kuczka (Arizona State) 222 (72-76-74).
FINAL NOTRE DAME RESULTS:
37t. Noriko Nakazaki 230 (75-80-75), 60t. Karen Lotta 234 (75-81-78), 68t. Katie Brophy 236 (78-83-75), 77t. Stacy Brown 237 (78-79-80), 94t. Jane Lee 243 (81-85-77)
* – Advance to NCAA Championship
— ND –