Ashley Armstrong is tied for the first round lead at the BIG EAST Championship after shooting an opening round of one-over par 73.

Irish Lead BIG EAST Championship By Two Strokes After Opening Round

April 22, 2012

Orlando, Fla. –

BIG EAST Championship ResultsGet Acrobat Reader

The Notre Dame women’s golf team opened the 2012 BIG EAST Women’s Golf Championship with an opening round of eight-over par 296 and leads the tournament after 18 holes by two strokes over the University of South Florida. The tournament is being played at the par-72, 6,177-yard Tom Watson Course at Reunion Resort and Golf Club. The Irish are the defending BIG EAST champions and are looking for their fifth team title in the 10-year history of the tournament.

Notre Dame was led in the opening round by freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) who fired a one-over par 73 and is tied for the lead with South Florida senior Kelli Pry. Just one stroke behind the tourney leaders in a seven-way tie for second are Irish senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) who shot two-over par 74s.

The Irish, ranked 50th in the most recent Golfstat rankings, were seeded second in the tournament behind 49th-ranked South Florida. The Bulls shot a 10-over 298 for the first 18. Notre Dame and South Florida have 15 and 13 shot leads respectively over third-place Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights opened with a 23-over round of 311 after entering the tournament as the conference’s seventh-ranked team. Louisville is fourth after one round with a 24-over mark of 312 while St. John’s and Seton Hall are tied for fifth with 314 totals.

Armstrong’s opening round consisted of four birdies and five bogeys. She was two-over par after 14 holes before back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 got her back to even par. A bogey on 18 put her in the clubhouse with a one-over par 73.

Huffer and Nhim also used a pair of late birdies in their rounds to shoot two-over par 74 and are among a group of seven golfers just one stroke behind the leaders.

Huffer had four birdies to go with six bogies on her opening 18 holes, picking up birdies on 14 and 16 to mover to one-over par before a bogey on the par 5, 17th hole moved her out of the lead and back to a tie for third place with 74.

Nhim was four-over par after the first 13 holes before getting birdies on the 14th and 16th holes to move back to two-over par 74. Nhim finished third in the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament while Huffer was fourth overall.

Joining the Irish duo just one stroke off the lead with 74 are: Emily Haas of Louisville, Jennifer Neville of St. John’s, Hannah Basalone of Seton Hall and Amy West and Shena Yang of South Florida.

Five golfers are just two strokes off the pace and tied for 10th with three-over par totals of 75. Leading that group is Notre Dame freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii). In her first BIG EAST appearance, Oride was one two-over par after 12 holes but picked up back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 to move back to even par. She finished her round with three consecutive bogies to finish with her three-over par 75.

Rounding out the Notre Dame contingent is senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) who will enter Monday’s second round tied for 18th with a six-over par 78, putting her just five strokes off the tournament lead.

Monday’s second round is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. Notre Dame’s golfers will be paired with golfers from South Florida and Rutgers. Allare will be the first Irish golfer off the first tee at 9:40. She will be followed by Oride at 9:50, Huffer at 10 a.m., Nhim at 10:10 a.m. and Armstrong at 10:20 a.m.

The weather for Monday in the Orlando area is expected to be partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-70’s and no chance of rain.

Notre Dame has won the BIG EAST women’s golf championship in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011.

TEAM RESULTS (18-hole totals): 1. Notre Dame 296; 2. South Florida 298; 3. Rutgers 311; 4. Louisville 312; t5. St. John’s 314; Seton Hall 314; 7. Cincinnati 315; 8. Georgetown 319.

TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 40): t1. Ashley Armstrong (Notre Dame) 73; Kelli Pry (South Florida) 73; t3. Becca Huffer (Notre Dame) 74; Kristina Nhim (Notre Dame) 74; Hannah Basalone (Seton Hall) 74; Emily Haas (Louisville) 74; Jennifer Neville (St. John’s) 74; Amy West (South Florida) 74; Shena Wang (South Florida) 74; t10. Kelli Oride (Notre Dame) 75; Lizzy Carl (Rutgers) 75; Alice Choi (Georgetown) 75.

NOTRE DAME INDIVIDUALS (of 40): t1. Ashley Armstrong 73; t3. Becca Huffer 74; Kristina Nhim 74; t10. Kelli Oride 75; t18. Katie Alare 78.