Oct. 18, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 12th-ranked Notre Dame women’s golf team heads to Greenville, S.C. for the 37th annual Lady Paladin Invitational looking for its fourth straight victory to open the 2007-08 season. The tournament will take place Friday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 21 at the par 72, 6,284-yard Furman University Golf Course.
FIELD/FORMAT: Notre Dame headlines the field of 18 schools. Six of the teams are ranked in the top 50 of the latest Golfstat rankings, including the Irish at No. 12. BIG EAST rival Louisville is ranked 34th, TCU is 36th, Augusta State is 39th, the host school Furman is 44th, while Mississippi is 50th. Rounding out the field is (rankings in parenthesis): Northwestern (55), UNC-Wilmington (64), UNC-Greensboro (68), South Florida (69), Mississippi (77), East Tennessee State (81), Winthrop (97), Memphis (104), Coastal Carolina (105), Minnesota (129), Wofford (139) and Kennesaw (154).
The tournament will feature 54 holes of play, with one round taking place each day. Friday and Saturday’s action gets underway with tee times at 8:30 a.m. (ET) from holes No. 1 and 10, while Sunday’s third and final round begins with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. (ET). Each team’s lineup will be comprised of five golfers with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score.
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: Junior Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Parkside Collegiate Institute) will tee it up from the No. 1 position for the Fighting Irish. Maunu has finished in the top 10 in all three tournaments this season, including a victory at the Cougar Classic. She carries a 72.44 stroke average, which ranks her second on the squad. Maunu carded a school-record round of 66 (-6) at the Cougar Classic en route to winning with a program-record 54-hole total of 210 (-6).
Freshman So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep (FL)) will continue her sizzling rookie campaign from the No. 2 position in the Fighting Irish lineup. Park has three top-five finishes this season, including a victory at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup. She leads the Irish with a 72.00 stroke average. Park possesses a top round of 69 (-3) and a top 54-hole total of 213 (-3) this season.
Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) will play from the third spot, which is her highest starting position this season. The freshman carries a 76.11 scoring average with a top round of 73 (+1). Conway’s best three-round total is 226 (+10).
Sophomore Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) brings a 75.89 stroke average into the fourth tournament of the season and she will play from the No. 4 position. Her top round this season is a one-over par 73, while her top three-round mark is a 222 (+6).
Fellow sophomore Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep (SC)) completes the Notre Dame lineup. Wetzel also possesses a 75.89 scoring average and her top round this season is a career-best one-under par 71. Her best 54-hole total of the campaign is a seven-over par 223, which is also a career-low mark.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame recorded its third consecutive victory by topping the 10-team field at the Wolverine Invitational at the par 71, 6,098 yard U-M Golf Course on Sept. 29-30 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Fighting Irish fired a final-round total of 304 to finish with a three-round total of 904 (303-297-304).
Notre Dame entered the final round trailing Michigan, the host school for the event, by two strokes. The Wolverines shot a 323 (+39) on the day to drop out of contention. Wisconsin carded the top round on the last day with a 301 (+17), yet that could only get the Badgers to within four shots of the Irish with a 908 final tally. Indiana finished third with a 916, while Michigan and Eastern Michigan rounded out the top five with respective scores of 921 and 924.
Eastern Michigan’s Stephany Fleet held on to her two-round lead as she fired a six-over par 77 on the final day to finish first among the 60-golfer field with a 219 (+6). Maunu concluded the event among a three-way tie for second with an eight-over par 221 (74-72-75) for the Fighting Irish.
Park concluded the two-day event with a nine-over par 222 (74-71-77) and in fifth place for the Fighting Irish. Conway carded Notre Dame’s top round of the day with a three-over par 74. She finished in a three-way tie for ninth, which is her top placing of the season, with a 228 (78-76-74).
Notre Dame classmates Brophy and Wetzel both tied for 26th with 235 totals. Brophy fired rounds of 77, 78 and 80, while Wetzel posted a 79 in the first round followed by identical scores of 78 in the second and third rounds.
UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS: This season signifies the first time in program history that the Notre Dame women’s golf team has ever won three straight tournaments. It also marks just the fourth time in the 20-year history of the program that the Irish have captured three events in a season. Notre Dame won four times during both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. The Irish won three tournaments during the 2000-01 campaign.
Due to their success, the Fighting Irish were recently featured in Golfweek. Go to http://www.golfweek.com/college/story/notredame_feature_101207 to read the article.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt discusses the team’s two-week layoff and how the squad is looking heading into the Lady Paladin Invitational … “We’ve had two goods weeks of practice. It was a chance for them to get caught up with their school work. I hope that’ll be a stress relief as we head into fall break.”
“We have to play better than we did at Michigan. It didn’t feel like we had won, even though we did. We didn’t play up to our capabilities but we were still fortunate.”
“This is a tournament we should win, but there are a handful of teams that are very good, they just haven’t played well yet this season. We just can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
RESULTS: Results of the Lady Paladin Invitational will be posted on www.furmanpaladins.com following each day’s round. NEXT UP: Notre Dame will continue its fall break trip at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The event will take place Oct. 26-28 at the North River Yacht Club. That will mark the last tournament for the Irish during the fall portion of their 2007-08 slate.