April 23, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team will play host to the 2004 BIG EAST Women’s Golf Championship this weekend, April 24-25, looking to conclude its 2003-04 season by repeating as conference champions. The Irish won the first-ever BIG EAST Women’s Golf Championship in 2003, earning the tournament victory by 44 strokes over runner-up Miami with a score of 941 (312-305-324). Notre Dame was led at the conference event by current sophomore Katie Brophy’s (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) performance of 229 (77-75-77), which was good for co-medalist honors and a spot on the all-BIG EAST team. The Irish, with a scoring average of 309.27, head into this year’s BIG EAST tourney as the No. 2 seed with the Hurricanes laying claim to the top seed. Joining Notre Dame and Miami at the par-72, 6,003-yard Warren Golf Course, are third-seeded Boston College and fourth-seeded Georgetown.
Third-year Notre Dame head coach Debby King is looking forward to getting the tournament underway. King knows the strength of the field, but feels confident in her team’s ability to win back-to-back BIG EAST titles.
“Miami is a good team and has had a solid season,” said King. “It was a tough call on whether we would be the first seed or the two seed. I’m fine, though, with being ranked second, because I think it gives the team more incentive to win it again. This won’t be an easy tournament, but playing on our home course is definitely an advantage.”
King’s lineup for the BIG EAST will consist of three returning all-BIG EAST selections from a year ago, plus this season’s top golfer and another solid Irish contibutor.
Along with Brophy, who is second on the team in scoring with a 77.27 average, junior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) and sophomore Suzie Hayes (Dublin, Ireland/Loreto College) will be making their second appearances at the BIG EAST tournament. Lotta, who is second on the team for the spring semester with an average of 79.33 (fourth for the season, 79.13), took fifth place and all-BIG EAST accolades at the ’03 BIG EAST tourney with a score of 243 (75-79-89). Hayes will be playing in the scoring lineup for the first time this spring when the BIG EAST gets started on Saturday, but brings with her the experience of finishing fourth at last season’s conference outing, shooting 237 (78-79-80) to be named one of four Notre Dame all-BIG EAST selections.
The two other members of the Irish lineup are freshman Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) and sophomore Sarah Bassett (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark). Nakazaki will start the event as the team’s No. 1 golfer after leading the ’03-04 squad with an average of 76.43 in her first year at the University, which is on pace to set a program record for stroke average in a single season. Bassett has played in all four of Notre Dame’s spring tournaments and has complied a season average of 80.24 in 21 rounds, which includes a third-place showing at the Notre Dame Invitational in the fall.
The BIG EAST Championship will be a two-day, 54-hole tournament, consisting of 36 holes on Saturday, with the final 18 holes to be played on Sunday. The event will begin each day with scheduled tee times at hole 1, starting at 8:00 a.m. (EST). The following are the Notre Dame participants’ tee times for Saturday’s first and second rounds:
First Round-Bassett (8:50), Hayes (9:00), Lotta (9:10), Brophy (9:20), Nakazaki (9:30) Second Round- Bassett (1:50), Hayes (2:00), Lotta (2:10), Brophy (2:20), Nakazaki (2:30) Tee times for the final round will be determined by the standings after 36 holes of play.
The BIG EAST Championship is open to the public with free admission. In addition, the Conference will be utilizing live scoring for all three rounds. Each player’s results will be viewable at www.golfstat.com with scores being updated every nine holes. Final results from Saturday and Sunday will be available both at the tournament’s page at the Golfstat site and at Notre Dame’s website, www.und.com.
– ND –