April 23, 2012
Orlando, Fla. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team saw its two-stroke lead at the 2012 BIG EAST Women’s Golf Championship slip away on Monday afternoon as the Irish shot a 25-over par total of 313 to fall five strokes behind tournament leader South Florida after 36 holes.
The Bulls were seven strokes better than Notre Dame in the second round with an 18-over mark of 306 and moved into the lead with a 36-hole total of 604 (298-306). The Irish will go into Tuesday’s final round with a 609 total after rounds of 296 and 313. The BIG EAST Championship is being played at the par-72, 6,177-yard Tom Watson Course at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club.
All eight conference teams batted the elements on Monday, namely high winds, as the round was played in winds of over 20 m.p.h. with gusts over 25 m.p.h. throughout the day. The best individual round was turned in by South Florida’s Christina Miller, who had a one-over mark of 73 while most of the opening-round leaders ranged from 76-80 on the second day of play.
Tuesday’s final round looks to be a showdown between South Florida (looking for its first-ever BIG EAST women’s golf championship) and Notre Dame (the defending champs and four-time winners) as third-place Louisville enters the final round 19 strokes behind the Bulls and 14 behind the Irish with a 623 total (312-311). Seton Hall is fourth with a 631 (314-317) and Rutgers rounds out the top five with a 635 (311-324).
Individually, Notre Dame freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) held on to a share of the lead after 36 holes by firing a five-over par 77, giving her a 36-hole total of 150. She is tied with South Florida’s Amy West at six-over par 150. West has rounds of 74 and 76 for her two-round total. Her four-over par 76 was the second-best finish of the day.
Armstrong, who opened with a one-over 73 got off to a good start on Tuesday and was one-over on the front nine before taking on the wind over the final nine holes. On the back, she turned in five bogeys with a birdie on the par four 16th. She closed the round with a great par save on the 18th, after hitting her drive to the left and taking a drop, she punched a 35-yard shot from near a hazard just past the hole and then knocked down a short putt to save her 77.
Trailing Armstrong and West by one shot are Emily Haas of Louisville and Miller of South Florida with seven-over par totals of 151. Haas started the day tied for third after a 74 on Sunday and followed with a 77 this afternoon. Miller made the biggest jump on the leaderboard on Monday. She started the day tied for 18th after an opening round of 78 before her 73 today. She was actually two-under par after 14 holes before bogeying three the last four holes in the round.
A group of four golfers are tied for fifth at eight-over par 152s. Leading that group are Notre Dame golfers Becca Huffer (Sr., Denver, Colo.) and sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.). They started the day in a five-way tie for third and are just two strokes out of the top spot. Both golfers shot six-over par 78s to go with opening rounds of 74.
Joining Huffer and Nhim in a tie for fifth are South Florida teammates – first-round, co-leader Kelli Pry (73-97) and Shena Yang (74-78). Rounding out the top 10 golfers in the field of 40 are Seton Hall’s Hannah Basalone and Rutgers’ Kortnie Maxoutopouli as they are three behind the leaders with nine-over par totals of 153.
A fourth Irish golfer – freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) – is tied for 12th after two rounds as she followed and opening round 75 with an eight-over par round of 80. That gives her an 11-over par total of 155 after two rounds and puts her, along with Georgetown’s Alice Choi, five strokes behind the tournament leaders.
Senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) closes out Notre Dame’s roster of five at the BIG EAST as she is tied for 29th. Allare shot an 85 on Monday to go with her opening round of 75 for a 163 total.
The Irish will be looking for their fifth BIG EAST team title on Tuesday after wins in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2011. A Notre Dame golfer has won or shared medalist honors at the BIG EAST Championship four times in the first nine years the conference has sponsored women’s golf with the last individual title coming in 2009 when Lisa Maunu `09 won at Dade City, Fla., with a one-under par 215.
Tuesday’s final round will begin at 8 a.m. The Irish will begin play at 8:50 a.m. on the first tee with Allare. Oride tees off at 9 a.m., Huffer at 9:10, Nhim at 9:20 and Armstrong at 9:30. They will be teamed up in groups of three along with golfers from South Florida and Louisville.
TEAM RESULTS (36-hole totals): 1. South Florida 298-306-604; 2. Notre Dame 296-313-609; 3. Louisville 312-311-623; 4. Seton Hall 314-317-631; 5. Rutgers 311-324-635; 6. Cincinnati 315-327-642; 7. Georgetown 319-324-643. 8. St. John’s 314-330-644.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 40): t1. Ashley Armstrong (Notre Dame) 73-77-150; Amy West (South Florida) 74-76-150; t3. Emily Haas (Louisville) 74-77-151; Christina Miller (South Florida) 78-73-151; t5. Becca Huffer (Notre Dame) 74-78-152; Kristina Nhim (Notre Dame) 74-78-152; Shena Yang (South Florida) 74-78-152; Kelli Pry (South Florida) 73-79-152; t9. Hannah Basalone (Seton Hall) 74-79-153; Kortnie Maxoutpouli (Rutgers) 75-78-153.