April 17, 2015
GREENSBORO, N.C. — During the postseason, one of the little things that separates true contenders from aspiring challengers is the ability to find success from unexpected sources. Thanks to a strong boost from the bottom portion of its lineup, the University of Notre Dame women’s golf team finds itself in the true contender category at this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
The 32nd-ranked Fighting Irish played the first 27 holes of the conference tournament on Friday in two-over par 430 (287-143) and find themselves in sixth place, part of a group of five teams separated by four strokes, with that quintet chasing overnight leader (and 11th-ranked) Virginia in the 27th edition of the ACC Championship, being contested at the Sedgefield Country Club (par 72/6,089 yards) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Notre Dame currently leads three of the top 50 teams in the Golfstat rankings — No. 26 Miami (by six shots), No. 40 Louisville (seven shots) and No. 42 North Carolina State (12 shots) — and finds itself within striking distance of three other highly-ranked teams — No. 5 Duke (three shots back), No. 12 Wake Forest (four shots back) and No. 31 Florida State (two shots back) — in the 11-team field.
“I’m very pleased with where we are right now,” Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. “We’ve put ourselves in a position to contend for the conference championship (Saturday) which was our goal from the outset. What makes it so gratifying at this point is to see the contributions we’re getting from everyone on the team. It’s not just one person carrying us — everyone is doing something to contribute to our score and that’s when you have a successful team.”
With the tournament shortened to two days and asking players to complete a round and a half on day one, it was imperative that Notre Dame got off to a good start on Friday. The Fighting Irish did just that, posting an opening-round 287 (-1) that was the team’s lowest score, with relation to par, this season, and the third-lowest gross single-round score of the year. What’s more, Notre Dame logged its third-lowest round ever in a conference tournament, and lowest since winning the 2013 BIG EAST Conference Championship by closing with rounds of 285 and 282.
Junior Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) continued her steady play at the top of the Fighting Irish lineup this season, moving into a tie for 10th place at one-under par 106 (71-35). Campbell punctuated her day with a birdie on No. 18 to close out her first round, as well as a birdie on No. 9 to cap off the front half of round two.
“Talia is been one of our most consistent players all season long, and you saw why out there today,” Holt said. “She hit the majority of her fairways and greens and put herself in a position to make some birdies, especially in the morning round.”
Freshman Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) was the story of the day for Notre Dame on Friday, as the rookie charged into a 16th-place tie at even-par 107 (71-36), highlighted by a career low-tying 71 in the first round. Bellville rang up consecutive birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 in round one, a margin she maintained for much of the circuit before a pair of late bogeys dropped her to level par. Yet, Bellville maintained her poise and rolled in a clutch birdie on No. 18 to find red numbers for the first time in her career (her previous low round of 71 came on a par-70 course at the Schooner Fall Classic in Norman, Oklahoma, on Oct. 4).
“I couldn’t be happier for Kari,” Holt said. “She has worked so hard all year long and it’s paying off for her at exactly the right time. Her focus was so sharp today and she did an excellent job of taking advantage of the opportunities she made for herself. I believe this is only the start of some really great things for Kari moving forward.”
Senior Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii/Kauai) also offered strong support in the lower half of the Notre Dame lineup, posting a tie for 20th place at one-over par 108 (72-36). Oride followed Bellville’s lead with a birdie on No. 18 at the end of round one, then added a nearly spotless card across the front nine of her second round, with only a single bogey on No. 8 interrupting a run of eight pars during that span.
“Kelli had quite a bit of success here at Sedgefield last year and that carried over today,” Holt said. “When she’s relaxed and playing with poise like she did, she’s as good as any player we have in the lineup. To have a veteran like Kelli come out and add another solid score on top of the one Kari posted earlier in the day, that gets the rest of the team excited and energized and it becomes contagious.”
Senior captain Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) is tied for 24th place at two-over par 109 (73-36). Armstrong fought back from a pair of bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4 in her first round, playing the final 14 holes in one-under par. She then mirrored Oride’s second-round performance, with eight pars and just a bogey on No. 8.
Sophomore Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) rounded out the Fighting Irish scoring in a tie for 51st place at 10-over par 117 (79-38). Ferreira battled through an up-and-down day, giving up five shots in her first six holes, but rallying back by going two-under through the next eight holes. She then closed with a double bogey and two bogeys in a three-hole span late in round one, adding on four bogeys in her first six holes of the second round. However, Ferreira ended her day on a high note, chipping in for birdie from off the front edge of the No. 9 green.
Notre Dame will tee off at 9:10 a.m. (ET) Saturday for the final 27 holes of the ACC Championship, with live scoring available through the Golfstat web site (www.golfstat.com). In addition, live television coverage of the tournament will be available through ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app from 4:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday through the tournament’s conclusion.
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.
April 17-18, 2015 — Through 27 Holes
Sedgefield Country Club (par 72/6,089 yards)
TEAM SCORES (27-hole totals): 1. Virginia 419 (280-139); 2. Wake Forest 426 (288-138); 3. Duke 427 (286-141); 4. (tie) North Carolina 428 (289-139) and Florida State 428 (281-147); 6. NOTRE DAME 430 (287-143); 7. Clemson 435 (292-143); 8. Miami 436 (294-142); 9. Louisville 437 (291-146); 10. North Carolina State 442 (296-146); 11. Boston College 457 (303-154).
TOP NINE INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 55): 1. Leona Maguire (DU) 101 (68-33); 2. Gurbani Singh (DU) 103 (70-33); 3. (tie) Lyberty Anderson (UVA) 104 (68-36), Allison Emrey (WF) 104 (70-34) and Briana Mao (UVA) 104 (68-36); 6. (tie) Cecily Overbey (NCSU) 105 (69-36), Lexi Harkins (UNC) 105 (71-34), Lauren Coughlin (UVA) 105 (72-33) and Marissa Dodd (WF) 105 (72-33); 10. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) 106 (71-35); 16. (tie) Kari Bellville (ND) 107 (71-36); 20. (tie) Kelli Oride (ND) 108 (72-36); 24. (tie) Ashley Armstrong (ND) 109 (73-36); 51. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 117 (79-38).
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director