Sept. 28, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team fired a final-round 312 and edged Northern Iowa by one shot to win the 2003 Notre Dame Invitational Sunday afternoon at Warren Golf Course. It was the closest team finish in the four-year history of the event, with the Irish posting a three-round score of 938, only three shots shy of the tournament record. Notre Dame now has won its home tournament three times, including each of the last two years, and Sunday’s win was the second tournament crown in two weeks for the Irish – Notre Dame claimed the Cougar Classic championship in Hanahan, S.C., on Sept. 16.
The Irish trailed UNI by four shots entering Sunday’s final round, which was played in cold, wet conditions on the always-difficult par 72, 6,003-yard Warren layout. However, Notre Dame seemed unaffected by the elements, carding the second-lowest round of the day (Xavier logged a 311) to rally for the victory. Bradley placed third (944), with Xavier (950) and Western Michigan (953) completing the top five.
For the third consecutive year, the individual title at the Notre Dame Invitational was decided by a single stroke. WMU’s Stephanie Donkin emerged from a crowded field to take home medalist honors with a 12-over par 228 (75-79-74), the second-lowest 54-hole total in tournament history. Allison Walshe of Boston College was second at 229 (76-78-75) and Notre Dame’s Sarah Bassett (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS) placed third with a career-low 230 (75-78-77). The bronze medal finish was the highest placement of Bassett’s career and it capped an impressive weekend for the Irish sophomore, who was competing in her first tournament of the season.
Sophomore Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) finished in a fifth-place tie for Notre Dame, carding a three-round score of 233 (80-79-74). Freshman Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates HS) earned her third top-10 finish in as many collegiate tournaments, tying for ninth at 237 (75-81-81). Meanwhile, senior co-captain Shannon Byrne (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove HS) ended up tied for 14th place at 239 (79-77-83) while competing as an unaffiliated player this weekend.
Freshman Stacy Brown (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) tied for 27th place at 244 (79-82-83), while sophomore Suzie Hayes (Dublin, Ireland/Loreto College St. Stephen’s Green) wound up in a 30th-place tie at 245 (77-88-80). Sophomore Lauren Gebauer (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington HS) closed out her first tournament of the year in a tie for 32nd place at 246 (75-88-83) as an unaffiliated player.
Junior Casey Rotella (Keswick, Va./Monticello) saw her first action in 18 months after recovering from numerous injuries and the left-hander performed well, finished in a tie for 44th place with career-low 54-hole score of 250 (84-81-85). Senior co-captain Rebecca Rogers (Alpharetta, Ga./Centennial HS) was tied for 50th overall at 252 (87-82-83). Both Rotella and Rogers were playing as unaffiliated competitors this weekend. Junior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount HS) rounded out the contingent of Irish players, tying for 60th place at 257 (84-85-88).
Notre Dame will be back on the links one week from Monday when it takes part in the Shootout at the Legends in Franklin, Ind., Oct. 6-7.
— ND —