Feb. 17, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team will open the spring portion of its 2007-08 schedule this Monday (Feb. 18) at the Central District Invitational in Parrish, Fla. Fifteen teams will tee it up at the River Wilderness Golf and Country Club. The Irish are coming off an impressive fall season that saw them three tournaments.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Each team’s lineup will be comprised of five golfers with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score. The tournament will consist of 54 holes with Monday featuring two 18-hole rounds beginning with an 8:00 a.m. (ET) shotgun start. Tuesday will have one 18-hole round, which also begins with an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start. Michigan State University is the host of the event.
FIELD: A field of 15 teams will take to the River Wilderness Golf and Country Club. Kent State, the No. 14 team in the latest Golfstat rankings, headlines the field, while Notre Dame is 19th. Two other teams appear in the top 25, Michigan State (23) and Texas A&M (25). Completing the field is Oklahoma (30), Texas (31), Ohio State (37), Nebraska (39), Missouri (45), Indiana (48), Northwestern (59), Kansas State (64), SMU (71), Michigan (78) and Baylor (79).
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: Freshman So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep (FL)) registered a team-best stroke average of 72.53 during the fall season and she will open the spring playing from the top spot in the Notre Dame lineup. The rookie finished in the top seven of all five fall tournaments. She captured a victory at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup and was the runner-up at the Cougar Classic and at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate, which was the final event of the fall. Park possesses a top round of 69 (-3) and a top 54-hole total of 213 (-3) this season.
Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep (SC)), a sophomore, will tee it up from the second position in the Fighting Irish lineup. Wetzel has a 76.47 season scoring average and her top round is a career-best one-under par 71. Her best 54-hole total of the campaign is a seven-over par 223, which is also a career-low mark. Wetzel’s top finish this season occurred at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup where she tied for 13th.
Freshman Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) will play from the No. 3 spot. Conway carries a 76.20 scoring average with a top round of 73 (+1). Her best three-round total is 226 (+10). Her top finish of the first semester occurred at the Wolverine Invitational where she tied for ninth.
Junior Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Parkside Collegiate Institute) will start the tournament from the fourth spot in the Irish lineup. Maunu had four top-10 finishes in the fall, including a victory at the Cougar Classic. She carries a 73.73 season stroke average, which ranks her second on the squad. 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).
Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) brings a 76.80 stroke average into second-semester play. The sophomore will tee it up from the fifth position for Notre Dame. Her top round this season is a one-over par 73, while her top three-round mark is a 222 (+6). Brophy’s top finish this season came at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup where she tied for 21st.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame concluded its fall slate by tying for fourth place at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate at the par-71, 5,963-yard North River Golf Club on Oct. 28. The Fighting Irish carded a third-round total of 299 to finish with a 54-hole score of 897 (298-300-299). Park collected her third top-two finish of the season for the Irish as she placed second with a two-over par 215 (73-72-70).
Arkansas entered the day with a one-shot lead and the sixth-ranked Razorbacks delivered a seven-over par 291 during the third round to take the crown by eight shots over No. 7 Auburn, 886-894. The 18-team field included five top-25 squads according to Golfstat. Fifth-ranked Florida finished third with an 896, while Notre Dame was joined by its BIG EAST rival Louisville in fourth.
Stacy Lewis from Arkansas was tied for first after 36 holes of play with Furman’s Stefanie Kenoyer. Lewis carded a two-under par 69 on Sunday to take home medalist honors with a 213. Park, who has finished in the top seven in all five tournaments this season, finished two shots in back of Lewis. Kenoyer rounded out the top-three with a 217.
Notre Dame had two top-10 finishers as Maunu the event with a nine-over par 222 (75-74-73) and in 10th place. Conway carded her top round of the tournament on during the final round with a five-over par 76. The freshman finished with a 231 (77-78-76) and in 46th place.
Brophy totaled a 232 (75-76-81) for the tournament and finished among a three-way for 47th. Her classmate Wetzel shot a 234 (75-79-80) and was in a seven-way tie for 54th.
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) before registering a runner-up finish at the Lady Paladin Invitational (Oct. 19-21). This season signifies the first time in program history that Notre Dame has ever won three straight tournaments. It also marks just the fourth time in the 20-year history of the program that the Irish have captured three events in a season. Notre Dame won four times during both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. The Irish won three tournaments during the 2000-01 campaign.
PARK AMONG THE BEST: Park finished with the nation’s third-best head-to-head winning percentage after the fall season according to the January 26th edition of Golfweek magazine. Park, who is ranked 20th in the country by Golfweek/Sagarin, finished the fall campaign with a 424-12-2 record, which is a .970 winning percentage.
IRISH AND PARK COP `SURPRISING’ ACCOLADES FROM GOLF WORLD: Notre Dame was recently honored as Golf World announced its mid-season awards for the 2007-08 season. Park was tabbed as the most surprising female player, while the Fighting Irish were named the most surprising women’s team.
MAUNU HONORED: Maunu was named the 2007 female athlete of the year for St. Thomas and Elgin County, Canada. Maunu had a stellar first semester on the course as she captured a season-opening victory at the Cougar Classic in September and would go on to register three other top-10 finishes during the fall campaign. Entering the spring, she ranks second on the team with a 73.73 scoring average.
ALUMNI OUTING: During the weekend of Feb. 9 and 10 the Notre Dame men’s and women’s golf teams traveled to Florida to participate in the 2008 Florida Fling. The alumni outing was held at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa. Several Notre Dame alums participated in 18 holes of golf and banquet festivities. The guest speaker for the event was 1994 graduate and football All-American Aaron Taylor.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt discusses her team and the opening of the spring season …
“The team is looking to keep this thing going from the fall. Their goal is to win every tournament this spring and they are committed to that. Judging from the practice round, they are hitting the ball well and playing with confidence. Due to the weather (in South Bend) we weren’t able to get any golf holes in, but they are putting shots together so we’ll see what we can do.”
RESULTS: Live scoring of the Central District Invitational can be followed at golfstat.com. Full results will also be posted on msuspartans.com.
NEXT UP: Notre Dame returns to the course on March 7-9 at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational in Scottsdale, Ariz. The event will be held at the Rio Verde Golf Club.