May 6, 2004
NORMAL, Ill. – Battling high winds and hot temperatures (high of 89 degrees) in its debut at the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, the 19th-seeded Notre Dame women’s golf team fired an opening-round 319 at the 2004 NCAA Central Regionals on Thursday. The Irish are tied with No. 7 Tulsa in 17th place, 21 strokes behind the tournament’s co-leaders, top-seeded Vanderbilt and No. 2 New Mexico, which both shot a 14-over par 298 in the first 18 holes to give the teams a one-shot advantage over third-place and third-seeded Arizona (299). Notre Dame is 14 shots out of eighth place at the 21-team regional, which is the true demarcation line as the top eight teams at the Central Regionals, along with two additional individuals, will advance to the NCAA Championships, May 18-21. Illinois State is hosting the 54-hole Central Regional in Normal, Ill., at the par-71, 6,108-yard University Golf Course.
Individually, Notre Dame was paced on day one by a pair of eight-over par 79s from sophomore Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) and freshman Stacy Brown (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands). Both Irish players are 11 strokes off the lead shared by Arizona’s Erica Blasberg and Texas A&M’s Kyla Neal. The first-place duo each shot a course-record, three-under 68 while no other golfers had a sub-par first round on Thursday. Brophy started the day very well, earning pars on her first six holes and making the turn at two-over 38, but had a tough finish with bogies on holes 15, 16 and 17. After shooting 41 for nine holes, Brown had an up-and-down back nine that included birdies on No. 12 and No. 13 and ended with the rookie taking a bogey on each of the final three holes.
Freshman Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) followed Brophy and Brown, shooting an 80 in the opening round. Notre Dame’s leading scorer in the regular season had a great start, firing a 38 in the first nine holes and leading the Irish squad through 12 holes (along with Brophy) at five-over par. However, Nakazaki had a triple bogey on the par-three 11th hole and a double bogey on No. 13 before finishing strong with pars on holes 17 and 18.
Next for the Irish was junior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount), followed by senior co-captain Shannon Byrne (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove). Lotta contributed an 81 to the team’s first-round score after a hard day on the course, which ended with her determination leading to pars on three of her final four holes. Byrne rounded out the Notre Dame contingent by shooting an 82 on the first day of action.
The second round of the NCAA Central Regional will be played on Friday, May 7, with the final 18 holes to take place on Saturday, May 8. Both rounds will begin at 8:00 a.m. (EST) with set tee times from holes 1 and 10. The five Notre Dame players will tee off from the 10th hole on Friday, beginning at 8:50 a.m. (EST), and their final-round tee times will be determined based on the 36-hole tournament standings. The Central Regional is utilizing live scoring for the tournament and is available by either going to www.redbirds.org/WG/WGRegional.shtml or www.golftstatresults.com. A recap and results from each day’s action will also be available at www.und.com.
– ND –
TEAM RESULTS (18-hole totals): 1.(tie) Vanderbilt 298, New Mexico 298; 3. Arizona 299; 4. USC 300; 5. Michigan St. 302; 6. Missouri 303; 7.(tie) Purdue 305, Texas A&M 305; 9.(tie) TCU 308, Arkansas 308; 11.(tie) Indiana 311, Oklahoma 311; 13. Baylor 312; 14.(tie) Northwestern 313, Illinois St. 313; 16. SMU 316; 17.(tie) Notre Dame 319, Tulsa 319; 19. Princeton 320; 20. Kent St. 325; 21. Kansas St. 326.
TOP 11 INDIVIDUALS (of 108): 1.(tie) Erica Blasberg (Arizona) 68, Kyla Neal (Texas A&M) 68; 3.(tie) Laura Cross (SMU) 72, Sarah Jacobs (Vanderbilt) 72; 5.(tie) Karen Dennison (Indiana) 73, Kailin Downs (New Mexico) 73, Myrte Eikenaar (Purdue) 73, Allison Fouch (Michigan St.) 73, Caroline Haase (Purdue) 73, Ashley Rollins (New Mexico) 73, May Wood (Vanderbilt) 73.
NOTRE DAME INDIVIDUALS (of 108): 53.(tie) Katie Brophy 79, Stacy Brown 79; 60.(tie) Noriko Nakazaki 80; 70.(tie) Karen Lotta 81; 84.(tie) Shannon Byrne 82.