March 24, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish women’s golf team is heading south to play in the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational on March 26-28 in Austin, Texas. The tournament, which will be played at the University of Texas Golf Club, will begin with 8:15 a.m. (CT) split tee starts on Friday and Saturday, followed by an 8:45 a.m. shotgun start on Sunday. Notre Dame will be making its fourth consecutive appearance at the University of Texas hosted event.
The Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational will feature a strong field of 16 teams that includes eight top-25 teams according to the most recent Golftstat rankings (released on March 24, 2010).
“Once again we have a chance to get some quality head-to-head wins, this time in Austin,” assessed Irish head coach Susan Holt.
Aside from the host Longhorns (ranked 35th) and Notre Dame (42), the field includes: UCLA (1), Arizona (7), Stanford (10), Vanderbilt (17), TCU (22), New Mexico (23), UC Davis (24), Texas A&M (25), Oregon (30), Washington (32), Northwestern (41), Tulsa (45), Chattanooga (44) and Oklahoma (66).
The Notre Dame lineup will be comprised of Irish senior co-captains Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) and Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head (S.C.) Prep School), juniors Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) and So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton (Fla.)/Preparatory Academy) and sophomore Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton).
With a veteran lineup playing a familiar course, Holt is hoping this is the weekend that the Irish really put it all together on the course.
“My goal for the tournament is to have more balanced scoring 1-5,” said Holt. “We have had key individual rounds this spring but have yet to really show up as a team. We need to start shooting the team scores we are capable of and start breaking 300 to get our confidence up heading into the championship part of our season.”
The Irish will be playing the Betsy Rawls Longhorn invitational for the fourth consecutive season and also played in the 2008 NCAA Central Regional at the UT Golf Club. In 2007, the Irish finished 15th but were lead by Noriko Nakazaki ’07, who fired a 223 to tie for sixth. A year later, the Irish turned in an eighth-place showing led by Park, who shot a 156 to tie for seventh (shortened to two rounds). Last season, Park again led the team. She shot a 225 to tie for 23rd-place. In 2008 Central Regional play, the Irish finished 16th and were led by Lisa Maunu ’09, who finished tied for 30th.
“The UT course is a really great test of golf,” said Holt. “You have to earn your score there and it demands quality shot making which should play to our strength as we do have great ball strikers. Everyone traveling has played the course and some players have as many as 12 prior rounds there over the past three years so course knowledge should give us an advantage. The key will be to play smart, not scared. This course demands respect and it has defeated us many times in the past and I know the ladies are ready to get revenge.”
The Irish are coming off of a 13th-place showing at the LSU Tiger/Wave Classic, which featured an impressive 23-team field at the English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans, La. Huffer turned in a four-over par 76 in her final round of play to finish at eight-over par 224 and tied for 15th. It marked Huffer’s her seventh consecutive top-15 finish out of seven events of the 2009-10 season.
Live hole-by-hole scoring of the 2010 Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational will be available through Golfstat. To access the site, visit http://www.golfstatresults.com or click on the Live Stats tab on the right-hand side of the Notre Dame women’s golf schedule page on und.com. Daily recaps will also be posted on und.com.