Huffer finished the tournament tied for 24th place after carding an eight-over par 296.

Irish Set To Compete In Home Course Central Regional

May 4, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team is set to play host to the 2011 NCAA Central Regional Thursday through Sunday at the Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. Each of the three days consists of one 18-hole round of play. A top-eight finish at the Central Regional would advance the Irish to the NCAA Finals for the first time in program history. This season’s appearance is the program’s sixth appearance in the NCAA Championship.

There are 72 teams and nine individuals who compete in the three different regional sites. In addition to Notre Dame, the other two 2011 regional sites include the LPGA International Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla., which will be run by the Central Florida Sports Commission and Stetson and serves as the East Regional site. Representing the west is the Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, Wash. with Washington serving as the host school.

From the three regional sites, the eight lowest scoring teams and the two lowest scoring individuals who are not members of an advancing team from each site advances to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship.

Notre Dame’s plausible lineup includes senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River), senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy), junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) and freshmen Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) and Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress).

Daily recaps will be posted to Complete results and updated tee times and pairings will be posted on, where live hole-by-hole stats will also be available. Live stats can also be accessed through the live results links tab on the right hand side of the Notre Dame women’s golf schedule page on

Irish At The Championship

Daily recaps will be posted to Complete results and updated tee times and pairings will be posted on, where live hole-by-hole stats will also be available. Live stats can also be accessed through the live results links tab on the right hand side of the Notre Dame women’s golf schedule page on

The Course

The 2011 Central Golf Regional will be contested on the Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,208 yards). The Warren Golf Course opened on May 1, 2000, and was designed by the Austin, Texas-based firm of Coore and Crenshaw, headed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran (and two-time Masters champion) Ben Crenshaw. This will mark the third time the course has played host to NCAA regional play, and the first time it has been the site of a women’s regional (the NCAA Men’s Golf Central Regional was played at Notre Dame in 2005 and 2010). During its relatively brief 11-year existence, the Warren Golf Course already has played host to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, two U.S. Amateur qualifiers, two Western Amateur qualifiers and five BIG EAST Conference Championships.

Noted for its turn-of-the-century, old-world charm that recalls the classic early Irish and American courses, the Warren Golf Course is built upon subtleties, including small undulating greens and numerous strategically-placed bunkers (all of which were recently enhanced). Since its opening, the Warren Golf Course has been named of the best new courses in America by Golf Digest, has been tabbed a must-play venue by both Links Magazine and Golf Digest, and was named the No. 2 layout in the state of Indiana according to the 2008 Golfweek state-by-state ranking of the nation’s best public access courses.

Irish at the NCAAs 2011 is Notre Dame’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the Irish have now been selected to participate in four consecutive NCAA Regionals for the first time in program history.

In 2004 and 2005 the Irish received at-large berths to the Central Regional, finishing 17th and 18th, respectively. The 2004 event was contested at Illinois State’s University Golf Course in Normal, Ill., while the 2005 regional was played on Texas Tech’s Jerry S. Rawls Golf Course. Noriko Nakazaki led the Irish in those first two trips to the NCAAs, finishing tied for 36th in 2004 and then tying for 37th in 2005.

Then in 2007 Nakazaki played individually in the NCAA Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich., becoming the program’s first individual entrant into NCAA postseason play. She shot an 11-over par 224 to finish tied for 18th, which marks the best individual NCAA finish in program history. The 11-over par mark is also a program best mark in NCAA play.

A year later, Notre Dame returned to NCAA play as a team by winning the 2008 BIG EAST Championship. The Irish went on to finish 16th at the 2008 NCAA Central Regional in Austin, Texas, which was played at the University of Texas Golf Club.

Notre Dame At The 2010 Central Regional

The Notre Dame women’s golf team shot a 35-over par 323 in 2010 NCAA Central Regional third round action at the Otter Creek Golf Course (par 72/6,416 yards) to finish 17th. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) provided the final round drama for the Irish, as she turned in back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to move to two-over par on the day and threaten to take one of the Central Regional’s two individual qualifying positions for the NCAA Championship.

After the consecutive birdies, Huffer notched a par at the 15th and bogeyed the 16th to stand at three-over par on the day and tied with Denver’s Kimberly Kim for the last qualifying spot. A par on 17 maintained the status quo, but Huffer got in trouble on the 18th when her second shot found the rough on the left side of the fairway. Her approach hit the green, but bounced into the rough beyond the hole and she was unable to get up-and-down in order to force a playoff. Huffer finished with a five-over par 77 on the day and at 15-over par for the tournament to tie for 16th. Huffer’s 16th-place showing marks the best finish by an Irish golfer in NCAA play, besting Noriko Nakazaki 2007 tie for 18th. In two seasons of regional play, Huffer has broken 80 five out of a possible six times.

Notre Dame NCAA Bests

The top team round for Notre Dame in NCAA competition was a 14-over par 302, shot during the first round of the 2008 Central Regional. The round was part of a 54-hole total of 925 (+61), which ranks as the best three-round score in Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament history. The top individual round from an Irish golfer in the NCAAs is a one-over par 72 from Noriko Nkazaki at the 2007 NCAA Central Regional, where she competed as an individual. Nakazaki’s three-round 224 (+11) is the best 54-hole mark for a Fighting Irish competitor in NCAA play. Notre Dame’s best finish in NCAA play came when the team finished 16th in 2008 and 2009.

2011 Regional Field

UCLA, the No. 2 team in the nation according to the latest Golfstat ratings, is the top seed in the Central Regional after earning an at-large bid out of the Pacific-10 Conference. The Bruins are one of 17 teams in the Central Regional field that appear in the top 50 of the current published Golfstat ratings, with the others (listed in order of their seed) as follows: No. 5 Duke, No. 8 LSU, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 16 Wake Forest, No. 20 Texas, No. 14 Tulane, No. 24 Stanford, No. 25 Notre Dame (making its sixth regional appearance and aiming to advance to the NCAA finals for the first time in school history), No. 30 Ohio State, No. 32 Kent State, No. 35 Chattanooga, No. 40 Northwestern, No. 39 Minnesota, No. 43 UNLV, No. 48 Oklahoma State and No. 45 North Texas. Of these 17 top-50 squads, four earned automatic bids from their respective conferences (Texas – Big 12; Notre Dame – BIG EAST; Kent State – MAC; Chattanooga – Southern), while the other 13 teams collected at-large bids to the regional.

Rounding out this year’s Central Regional field (and listed in seeding order) are: Wisconsin, East Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio Valley Conference champion Morehead State, Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State and Horizon League champion Butler. North Texas, Morehead State and Butler have advanced to regional play for the first time in their respective histories (MSU’s program is in just its third year of existence), while three Big Ten participants will be competing for the first time in at least eight years (Illinois and Wisconsin last played in 2003, while Minnesota most recently tasted regional competition in 2001).


Notre Dame women’s golf head coach Susan Holt was named the BIG EAST Women’s Golf Coach of the Year, while senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy), junior Becca Huffer Denver, Colo./Littleton) and freshmen Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) and Kristina Nhim were named to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Women’s Golf Team.

This season’s selection marked Park’s third selection to the All-BIG EAST team, while Huffer earned the honor for the third consecutive time during her career. If Huffer wins the honor again next year she will join 2010 graduate Annie Brophy and 2007 graduate Noriko Nakazaki being the only women’s golfers in program history to boast that honor.

Last Time Out

The 25th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s golf team won its fourth BIG EAST Championship Tuesday at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla. The team recorded a three-round score of 902 (295-297-310/+38) to win over the eight-team field. Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) stayed atop the Notre Dame finishers as the freshman completed the three-day tournament with a six-over par 222.

The Irish completed the tournament in first place and were trailed by Louisville in second place with a 54-hole total of 915 (+51) and South Florida finished in third place.