April 24, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The biggest factor all weekend at the BIG EAST golf championship was the weather and it finally won out on Sunday with the cancellation of the final round of play. Due to snowy conditions, the tournament was made official after just 18 holes, which took place on Saturday. The event was supposed to feature 36 holes on Saturday but inclement weather forced the tournament committee to reduce that number to 18. Despite the conditions, Notre Dame senior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) took home co-medalist honors along with Georgetown’s Connie Isler after they each shot a five-over par 77 in Saturday’s round of play at Notre Dame’s par 72 Warren Golf Course.
St. John’s won the conference team crown with a 329 (+41), followed by Georgetown’s total of 336 (+48) and Notre Dame’s round of 338 (+50). Boston College completed the four-team field with a 353 (+65). The BIG EAST women’s champion does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The victory by Lotta was the first of her Notre Dame career and it marks the third straight year in which she has garnered all-BIG EAST honors. Joining her on the all-tournament team was her sophomore teammate Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) with her second appearance on the all-BIG EAST squad. Nakazaki fired a 13-over par 85 to tie for sixth overall.
“This was one of my best collegiate rounds given the conditions that we had to play in,” said Lotta. “It was nice to get the win here at home in front of my team and my parents. It was also nice to end my BIG EAST career on a high note but now we have to focus on hopefully going to regional. We knew that we were on the cusp of getting in coming into this weekend. I hope that we can play down in Texas at the regional and finish well because we have the potential to do so.”
Two Irish teammates tied for 12th as junior co-captain Suzie Hayes (Dublin, Ireland/Loreto College) and freshman Jane Lee (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula) each carded 16-over par 88s. Junior co-captain Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) was denied her third straight all-BIG EAST honor as she fired an 18-over par 90 to close out the Irish field in 16th place. Before Lotta, she was the last Notre Dame golfer to win medalist honors at the BIG EAST tournament as she was also co-medalist back in 2003.
The Fighting Irish will now wait to hear if their named will be called as an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament when the field is announced on Monday, April 25th. Notre Dame boasts a solid resume for the 2004-05 season, including four tournament wins with one of those coming at the Jeannine McHaney Invitational/Central Regional Preview. The Irish are currently 46th in the golfstat.com rankings.
“It’s a disappointment for us to end on this note,” stated Notre Dame head coach Debby King. “However it was nice to see Karen (Lotta) get her first collegiate win. All we have to do now is forget about yesterday and just move on. This tournament didn’t hurt us for the NCAAs as far as wins and losses go but it did affect our scoring average a little bit. But I just find it hard to believe that they (the NCAA selection committee) would hold one bad round against us after all that we did this year.”
Continue to follow the Irish during the 2004-05 season by logging onto und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at 574-631-3000.
BIG EAST Championship (Warren Golf Course – Notre Dame, Indiana, Par 72, 6,003-yards)
FINAL TEAM RESULTS (18-hole totals):
1. St. John’s 329, 2. Georgetown 336, 3. Notre Dame 338, 4. Boston College 353.
FINAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (top 7 of 20 plus Notre Dame individuals):
1t. Connie Isler* (Georgetown) 77, 1t. Karen Lotta* (Notre Dame) 77, 3. Christin Thomson* (St. John’s) 78, 4. Jaclyn Sanders* (St. John’s) 81, 5. Nicole Hayashi* (Georgetown) 84, 6t. Brittany Lambertson* (St. John’s) 85, 6t. Jennifer Rhee* (St. John’s) 85, 6t. Noriko Nakazaki* (Notre Dame) 85, 12t. Suzie Hayes (Notre Dame) 88, 12t. Jane Lee (Notre Dame) 88, 16. Katie Brophy (Notre Dame) 90.
* – All-BIG EAST Finisher
— ND –