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 Move To Third In 12-Team Field After 36 Holes At 2012 Clover Cup Tournament

March 17, 2012

Mesa, Ariz. –

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The Notre Dame women’s golf team turned in a second consecutive strong round of play on Saturday at the 2012 Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament, firing an eight-over par 296 and finds itself in third place after 36 holes with an eight-over par total of 584.

That puts the Irish just two strokes behind second-place Oklahoma (289-293-592) and 26 strokes behind first-place Colorado as the Buffaloes are 18-under par as a team for a 36-hole total of 558 on rounds of 277 and 281.

The inaugural Clover Cup Tournament is being played at the par-72, 6,209-yard Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.

Notre Dame’s two-round total of 584 is the lowest 36-hole for the Irish this season with the previous low being a 603 after two rounds at the Hoosier Fall Invitational.

Leading Notre Dame’s golfers is freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) who followed a career-best, five-under par 67 in Friday’s opening round with a second-round total of two-over par 74. That gives her a 36-hole total of three-under par 141. She enters Sunday’s final round in fifth place and is just three shots behind tournament co-leaders Emily Talley of Colorado and Kristina Merkle of Tulsa as both have six-under par totals of 138.

Also in the top 10 for Notre Dame after two rounds is sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) who has six strokes off the leaders pace after opening with back-to-back rounds of even-par 72 for a total of 144. Eleven different golfers finished the first two rounds at par or better.

While Colorado has built a big lead for the top spot, five strokes separate second to fourth place and four teams are separated by one stroke for fifth through eighth place.

Trailing Notre Dame in fourth place is Tulsa as the Hurricanes are two strokes behind the Irish with a 586 total after rounds of 294-292.

Three teams – Iowa State, Florida International and Texas Tech – are tied for fifth place with 23-over totals of 599 and the University of Minnesota is eighth at 24-over par 600.

Following Armstrong and Nhim on the Notre Dame scoreboard is senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) who will enter Sunday’s final round tied for 14th overall. She followed her opening round of even-par 72 with a three-over par 75 for her two-day total of 147. Huffer is nine strokes behind the tournament leaders on the weekend.

Fourth among Irish golfers is freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) who is tied for 30th after Saturday’s three-over par 75 that gives her a two-round total of eight-over par 152. Her two rounds of 77-75 are Oride’s best two rounds of the spring semester.

Rounding out the Irish contingent on Saturday is senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) who finds herself in 60th place after shooting an 85 for a two-round total of 162.

Sunday’s individual race for the top has three golfers within three strokes of Talley and Merkle with 18 holes left to play. Tied for third are Talley’s teammates Alex Stewart and Jessica Wallace of Colorado who are just one stroke off the pace with 139 totals. Notre Dame’s Armstrong is fifth, three strokes behind at 141.

The final round of play in the 2012 Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament will start at 8:30 a.m. (MT) with a shotgun start. The Irish will once again be teamed with Colorado and Oklahoma and will start on holes one through four. Nhim and Armstrong will start on the first tee at 8:30 and 8:30 a.m. respectively. Huffer starts on two, Oride on three and Allare on four.

TEAM RESULTS (18-hole totals): 1. Colorado 277-281-558; 2. Oklahoma 289-293-582; 3. Notre Dame 288-296-584; 4. Tulsa 294-292-586; t5. Iowa State 295-304-599; Florida International 292-307-599; Texas Tech 296-303-599; 8. Minnesota 293-307-600; 9. Furman 292-320-612; 10. Michigan 306-316-622; 11. SMU 302-331-633; 12. Cincinnati 323-318-641.

TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 71): t1. Emily Talley (Colorado) 66-72-138; Kristina Merkle (Tulsa) 68-70-138; t3. Alex Stewart (Colorado) 68-71-139; Jessica Wallace (Colorado) 70-69-139; 5. Ashley Armstrong (Notre Dame) 67-74-141; t6. Jennifer Coleman (Colorado) 73-69-142; Chirapat Jao-Javanil (Oklahoma) 71-71-142; Gabriella Dominquez (Texas Tech) 74-68-142; 9. Carmen Laguna (Minnesota) 70-73-143 t10. Kristina Nhim (Notre Dame) 72-72-144; Emily Collins (Oklahoma) 72-72-144.

NOTRE DAME INDIVIDUALS (of 71): 2. Ashley Armstrong 67-74-141; t10. Kristina Nhim, 72-72-144; t13. Becca Huffer; 72-75-147; t30. Kelli Oride, 77-75-152; 60. Katie Allare, 77-85-162.