March 31, 2012
Athens, Ga. –
Freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) shot a two-under par 70 in Saturday’s second round of the 40th Liz Murphey Invitational to move into a five-way tie for ninth after 36 holes with a two-under par 142. Armstrong’s 70 helped lead the Notre Dame team to a four-over par total of 292 and moved the Irish from 12th to ninth in the field of 18 teams.
Notre Dame now has a two-day total of 593 on the par-72, 6,335-yeard University of Georgia Golf Course. The Irish trail tournament-leading Alabama by 28 strokes as the Crimson Tide has a 36-hole total of 11-under par 565. They were the only team on Saturday to shoot an under-par round, as the Tide was one-under with a 287 final total.
Alabama leads second-place Georgia by eight strokes with one round left as the host Bulldogs have a 573 for the tournament and shot a one-over par 289 in the second round. South Carolina is 12 strokes off the pace with a 577. Purdue moved to fourth with a 582 total and Florida State and Virginia round out the top five spots with 584 marks after 36 holes.
The Irish will go into Sunday’s final 18 holes with a three-stroke lead on 10th-place Arkansas and lead 11th-place Kent State and Wake Forest by six. They are four behind eighth-place Auburn (ranked seventh in the nation) and six behind seventh–place Michigan State (ranked 23rd).
Besides Armstrong’s second par or lower round of the weekend, Coach Susan Holt’s squad saw sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) shoot a one-under par 71 and senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) post a one-over 73 in Saturday’s round. Freshman Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) shot a 78 and senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) checked in with an 81.
Starting on the back nine for the second day in a row, Armstrong was three-under par on the back nine, scoring birdies on 13 and after a bogey on 14, three straight on 15, 16 and 17 for a 34 for her first nine holes. She finished with eight pars and a bogey on the par 4 sixth to close out her round of two-under par 70. Armstrong goes into Sunday’s final round just four strokes behind tourney leader Jennifer Kirby who followed her tournament-tying low round of 66 with and even-par 72 for a six-under par 138 after 36 holes.
Nhim followed her opening round of 77 with a one-under par 71 on Saturday. She was even on the opening nine holes, shooting a 37 on the back nine. She followed with three birdies and a bogey through eight on the front half before bogeying her last hole, the par 4 ninth, to shoot a 34 for the 71. Nhim’s 148 total has her tied for 29th in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. Her 71 is her third par or better round in the her last five rounds as she had a pair of 72s in the team’s last outing, the Notre Dame Clover Cup Tournament.
Huffer equaled Armstrong’s start and was two-under par on the back nine with birdies on 11 and 13 for a 35 but had just one more birdie on the front nine to go with four bogeys to finish with a 73 for the day. The team captain has a 36-hole card of 149 and that ties her for 34th overall.
Following Huffer on the scoreboard is Oride who has rounds of 76 and 78 for a 154 total and is 60th. Allare checks in with a two-round total of 158 (77-81) and is tied for 81st going into Sunday’s action.
Nineteen golfers are at level par or better after two rounds with 13, including Armstrong within four shots of the Kirby’s lead. One stroke off the pace and tied for second are Purdue’s Laura Gonzalez and Georgia’s Marta Silva Zamora. Both shot three-under par 69s on Saturday to move from sixth to second with five-under par totals of 139.
Three golfers are tied for fourth, two strokes behind Kirby. South Carolina golfers Katie Burnett and Meredith Swanson are in the hunt along with Alabama teammate Brooke Pancake at four-under par 140. Virginia’s Brittany Altomare and Florida’s Evan Jensen are tied for seventh with 141 totals and Notre Dame’s Armstrong leads the logjam at ninth with four others at two-under par 142.
Sunday’s final round will begin at 9:00 a.m. and features a shotgun start with Notre Dame’s contingent starting on holes seven through nine with golfers from Auburn and Michigan State.
TEAM RESULTS (36-hole totals): 1. Alabama 278-287-565; 2. Georgia 284-289-573; 3. South Carolina 285-292-577; 4. Purdue 293-289-582; t5. Florida 286-298-584; Virginia 287-297-584; 7. Michigan State 296-291-587; 8. Auburn 297-292-589; 9. Notre Dame 301-292-593; 10. Arkansas 305-291-596; t11. Kent State 293-306-599; Wake Forest 302-297-599; t13. Florida State 296-304-600; Oklahoma 296-304-600; 15. Denver 303-305-608; 16. Missouri 305-310-615; 17. Augusta State 311-308-619; 18. Georgia (B): 308-316-624.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (of 90): 1. Jennifer Kirby (Alabama) 66-72-138; t2. Laura Gonzalez (Purdue) 70-69-139; Marta Silva Zamora (Georgia) 70-69-139; t4. Katie Burnett (South Carolina) 70-70-140; Brooke Pancake (Alabama) 68-72-140; Meredith Swanson (South Carolina) 71-69-140; t7. Brittany Altomare (Virginia) 70-71-141; Evan Jensen (Florida) 71-70-141; t9. Ashley Armstrong (Notre Dame) 72-70-142; Stephanie Meadow (Alabama) 71-71-142; Emily Tubert (Arkansas) 72-20-142; Caroline Powers (Michigan State) 72-70-142; Cheyenne Woods (Wake Forest) 73-69-142.