May 7, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf program returns to the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, May 8 for the first round of the Central Regional at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas. This will be the third team appearance in the NCAAs for the Fighting Irish and the first since 2005. Notre Dame hopes to advance past the regional and into the NCAA Finals for the first time in school history.
THE CENTRAL REGIONAL: The 2008 NCAA Women’s Golf Central Regional will be held at the par 72, 6,301-yard University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas … the three-day event will feature one 18-hole round per day … competition will run from Thursday, May 8 through Saturday, May 10 … Notre Dame tees off at 8:00 a.m (CT) on Thursday … each of the 21 teams will have a five-person lineup and the lowest four scores from each round will count towards the overall team total … there is also three individual competitors in the event.
NCAA FORMAT: The NCAA Tournament field is comprised of 63 teams, plus nine individuals on non-qualifying teams, that are divided among three regional sites (Athens, Ga., Austin, Texas & Lincoln, Calif.) … the top eight teams, and top-two non-advancing golfers, from each of the three regions will advance to the NCAA Finals, which will take place May 20-23 at the University of New Mexico Golf Course in Albuquerque, N.M.
FIELD: Notre Dame is the ninth seed in the Central Regional … that marks the top seed that the Irish have obtained in their three trips to the NCAA Regional … the top-seed of the region is UCLA, while Purdue, Alabama, Denver and Kent State round out the top-five teams according to seed … nine of the squads, including the 25th-ranked Fighting Irish, appear in the latest Golfstat rankings … Notre Dame has faced 12 of the 21 teams this season and the Irish have a combined record of 16-6-1 against those squads … the Irish are a combined 5-2 against teams seeded above them (3. Alabama 2-0; 5. Kent State 0-1; 7. LSU 2-0; 8. Texas A&M 1-1).
NOTRE DAME LINEUP:
No. 1 – Sophomore Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) possesses a 76.72 season scoring average … she is coming off her first career medalist finish at the BIG EAST Championship by carding a three-round total of 222 (+6) … that was her first team-leading effort of the season … she has earned all-BIG EAST accolades each of her first two seasons with the Irish … her top round of the season, a one-under par 71, and top three-round score, an even-par 216, were achieved at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9) … those totals matched her career-best marks … Brophy has had 24 of 29 rounds scored for the team this season.
No. 2 – Freshman So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep (FL)) has led the Irish in six of 10 tournaments this season … she carries a team-best 73.28 scoring average … Park leads the Irish with two medalist finishes this season and she has placed in the top-seven in all but one tournament … she captured victories at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Classic (Sept. 17-18) and the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9) … the rookie has claimed four runner-up finishes, including at the BIG EAST Championship … she earned all-conference honors for that showing … she possesses a top round of 69 (-3) and a top 54-hole total of 212 (-4) … Park is the only Fighting Irish golfer to have all 29 of her rounds count towards the team score this season.
No. 3 – Junior Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Parkside Collegiate Institute) boasts the team’s second-best scoring average with a 75.38 mark … Maunu copped all-BIG EAST accolades for the second straight season by tying for fourth with a 227 (+11) … the team co-captain has five top-10 finishes this season, including a victory at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 9-11) … 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) … 23 of her 29 rounds this season have counted towards the team score.
No. 4 – Sophomore Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep (SC)), brings a 77.00 stroke average into the Central Regional … she earned all-BIG EAST recognition by tying for fourth with a 227 (+11) at the BIG EAST tournament … that marked a career-best finish for the sophomore … this season, Wetzel has notched career-best totals for a single round (71/-1) and 54-hole score (221/+5) … the one-under par 71 occurred at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Classic (Sept. 17), while the three-round tally came at the Rio Verde Invitational (March 7-9) … Wetzel has had 23 of 29 rounds count for the team.
No. 5 – Freshman Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) ranks third on the team with a 76.48 scoring average this season … she carded season-best 54-hole total of 220 (+4) at the Canes & Cards Classic (April 7-8) … her top round is a one-over par 73, which has occurred four times this season, including twice at the Canes & Cards Classic … Conway’s top finish of the campaign occurred at the Wolverine Invitational (Sept. 29-30) where she tied for ninth … she has had 21 of her 29 rounds count towards the team score this season.
BEEN HERE BEFORE: The five members of the Fighting Irish lineup are no strangers to the University of Texas Golf Club … Notre Dame tied for fifth at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, which was held at the course March 17-19 of this year … the Irish posted a two-round score of 642 (317-325/+66) … the tournament was scheduled to be a three-round event but was reduced to two rounds due to inclement weather … Notre Dame also played the course at last season’s Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational … three current members of the Irish lineup (Annie Brophy, Lisa Maunu, Kristin Wetzel) played at that tournament.
IRISH IN THE NCAAS: Notre Dame will be making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament … the Irish first appeared in the NCAAs in 2004 and they finished 17th with a 952 (319-312-321/+100) in the Central Regional held in Normal, Illinois … Notre Dame returned the following season and placed 18th with a 934 (306-323-305/+70) at the Central Regional in Lubbock, Texas … last season, Noriko Nakazaki became the first golfer in program history to qualify for NCAA competition as an individual … she placed in a tie for 18th after carding a 224 (72-73-79/+11) at the Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
NCAA MARKS: The top team round for Notre Dame in NCAA competition is a 17-over par 305 during the third and final round of the 2005 Central Regional … the round was part of a 54-hole total of 934 (+70), which ranks as the best (of two) three-round scores in Notre Dame’s brief NCAA Tournament history … the top individual round from an Irish golfer in the NCAAs is a one-over par 72 from Noriko Nakazaki at last season’s NCAA Central Regional … she competed as an individual at that event … Nakazaki’s three-round 224 (+11) is the best 54-hole mark for a Fighting Irish competitor in NCAA play.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame won the BIG EAST Championship after posting a three-round score off 899 (296-301-302) at the par 72, 6,080-yard Elks Run Golf Club in Batavia, Ohio … the tournament was held April 20-22 … the Irish topped the two-time defending BIG EAST Champion Louisville by nine shots … Notre Dame made it a clean sweep as sophomore Annie Brophy took home medalist honors with a six-over par 222 (74-74-74) … Notre Dame entered the third and final round with a nine-shot lead over Louisville … the Irish and Cardinals both carded identical 302 (+14) scores on the day … Cincinnati finished third with a 920 and St. John’s took fourth with a final tally of 933 … Georgetown (937), South Florida (953) and Rutgers (1004) rounded out the field in order of finish … Notre Dame freshman So-Hyun Park was runner-up to her teammate by notching a 224 (74-75-75) … junior Lisa Maunu (73-76-78) and sophomore Kristin Wetzel (75-76-76) finished tied for fourth among the 35-golfer field with 11-over par 227 totals … freshman Katie Conway completed the Notre Dame lineup by placing in a tie for 15th with a 17-over 233 (79-77-77).
BIG EAST BEST: Notre Dame’s 2008 BIG EAST title marked the third BIG EAST championship in program history … that is the most for any member of the league … sophomore Annie Brophy captured medalist honors at the conference tournament by carding a six-over par 222 (74-74-74) … she became the first golfer in the history of the Fighting Irish program to win the BIG EAST title outright … former Irish golfers Katie Brophy, Annie’s younger sister, and Karen Lotta took home co-medalist finishes in 2003 and 2005, respectively
ALL-CONFERENCE: For the second straight season, four Notre Dame golfers earned all-conference honors at the BIG EAST Championship … Annie Brophy topped everyone by taking first (222), while her freshman teammate So-Hyun Park was runner-up (224) … two Irish golfers, junior Lisa Maunu and sophomore Kristin Wetzel, tied for fourth (227) … the all-BIG EAST accolade was the second for Brophy, who also paced the Irish in her inaugural BIG EAST tournament as she placed third last season … Maunu also copped all-league honors last season by tying for 10th.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt was named the 2008 BIG EAST Women’s Golf Coach of the Year … Holt, who is in her second season at Notre Dame, has guided the Fighting Irish to a program-record five tournament wins this season, including the BIG EAST title … Holt is no stranger to coach-of-the-year awards as she was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year on three occasions (1996, 1999, 2001) during her 13 seasons at the University of South Florida … in addition, she was named the Conference USA Coach of the Decade for the first 10 years of the league (1995-2005).
RECORD-BREAKING SEASON: As a team, the Fighting Irish possess a 299.66 season stroke average, which is on pace to shatter the program record of 305.46 from last season … freshman So-Hyun Park leads Notre Dame with a 73.28 stroke average and that is on pace to move her into first place in the program record book by surpassing Noriko Nakazaki’s 74.71 average from last year … earlier this season, junior Lisa Maunu established a program-record round of 66 (-6) at the Cougar Classic … the co-captain concluded that 54-hole event with a six-under par 210, another school mark.
THREE MEDALIST FINISHERS: The Fighting Irish have had three different golfers combine to win four tournaments this season … freshman So-Hyun Park has captured two titles (Napa River Grill Cardinal Classic & Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational), while junior Lisa Maunu (Cougar Classic) and sophomore Annie Brophy (BIG EAST) have claimed one victory apiece this season … the four medalist finishes mark the most for Notre Dame since the 2004-05 campaign … that season, four different Irish golfers won an event.
UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS: Notre Dame opened the 2007-08 campaign with wins at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 9-11), Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup (Sept. 17-18) and at the Wolverine Invitational (Sept. 29-30) … that signified the first time in program history that Notre Dame has ever won three straight tournaments … the Fighting Irish won their program-record tying fourth tournament of the season at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational (March 7-9) … the BIG EAST title (April 20-22) marked the record-setting fifth victory of the campaign … Notre Dame claimed four victories during both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
CONSISTENCY: Notre Dame has finished in the top-five in nine of 10 tournaments this season … in addition to winning five events, the Irish have claimed runner-up honors once … Notre Dame has finished fourth twice and fifth on one occasion.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Head coach Susan Holt discusses the upcoming NCAA Central Regional …
“We were able to get a two-and-a-half hour practice session on Tuesday and that worked out really well. It helped us a little bit more with getting used to the greens, again. We will then have the practice round on Wednesday.”
“The team is excited to be here. They like where they’re at and excited with the draw. They are looking to get some revenge on this golf course. We haven’t played this course well, yet, and we’re due and they know that. If they keep doing what they’re doing and playing the way they’re capable of playing, we should get the outcome we hope for and that’ll take us to finals.”
RESULTS: Live scoring of the NCAA Central Regional is available through Golfstat.com … results will also be posted daily on texassports.com … for additional information, log onto und.com.