Oct. 6, 2011

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(Notre Dame, Ind.) … The Notre Dame women’s golf team travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., this weekend to compete in the Tar Heel Invitational at the University of North Carolina from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9. The 18-team tournament will begin on Friday morning at 8:51 a.m. with the teams playing 18 holes each day in the 54-hole tournament at the par 72, 6,285-yard Finley Golf Course. Coach Susan Holt and her squad are making their second appearance of the fall as come off a tie for 9th at the 18-team Golfweek Conference Challenge played Sept. 19-21 at in Wolcott, Colo. The Irish will have their work cut out for them in North Carolina as the Tar Heel Invitational features 15 teams ranked in the top 50 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, including top 10 teams – Auburn (2), Virginia (5), North Carolina (6), LSU (8) and Alabama (10). Notre Dame enters the tourney ranked 47th in the latest rankings that were released on Oct. 2. This marks the first time that the Irish have participated in the Tar Heel Invitational.


Name: The Tar Heel Invitational (hosted by the University of North Carolina)

Course: The UNC Finley Golf Course (Par 72, 6,285 yards)

Field: 18 teams (2011 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings as of Oct. 2):

Auburn (2), Virginia (5), North Carolina (6), LSU (8), Alabama (10), Duke (11), Georgia (18), South Carolina (24), North Carolina State (26), Michigan State (29), Arkansas (36), Tennessee (40), Tulane (46), Notre Dame (47), Coastal Carolina (48), Louisville (60), Tennessee-Chattanooga (60) and Wake Forest (90).

TOURNAMENT UPDATES: Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. Results also will be available on the North Carolina website (www.tarheelblue.com) each day. Round-by-round recaps and everything you need to know about Notre Dame women’s golf will be available at und.com.

FIRST ROUND TEE TIMES: The Irish will begin play in the Tar Heel Invitational on Friday, Oct. 7 at 9:45 a.m. with sophomore Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif.) teeing off first. She will be followed by senior Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) who will start at 9:54. Senior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) is third in the Notre Dame lineup and begins her round at 10:03 a.m. Starting fourth for the Irish at the first hole is freshman Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill.) at 10:12 a.m. with fellow frosh Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii) starting her round at 10:21 a.m. Notre Dame players play in threesomes with golfers from North Carolina State and Louisiana State.

LAST TIME OUT: The Irish opened the 2011-12 season on Sept. 19-21 at the Golfweek Conference Challenge at the Red Sky Golf Club near Vail, Colo., finishing in a tie for ninth in the 18-hole tournament with a 54-hole total of 917. Notre Dame finished tied for ninth with Coastal Carolina and was 17-strokes behind tournament champion Oklahoma as the Sooners fired a three-day total of 899 on the par-17 course. Freshman Kelli Oride was the top finisher for the Irish as she opened her collegiate career with a three-round total of 230 (79-78-73) to finish 14-over par and tied for 32nd overall. She was followed by fellow freshman Ashley Armstrong (73-77-81) and senior Becca Huffer (78-81-82) who tied for 34th with 15-over par marks of 231. Katie Allare tied for 39th with a 232 (77-77-78) and Kristina Nhim tied for 49th with a 234 (74-79-81).

THE COACH: Susan Holt begins her sixth season as the women’s golf coach at Notre Dame and her 22nd as a Division I head coach. She also served a head coach at Purdue University (1990-93) and the University of South Florida (1993-2006). In her first five seasons at Notre Dame, the Irish have won a pair of BIG EAST titles (2008 and 2011), made four NCAA regional appearances (2008, `09, `10, 11) and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time last May (2011) where they finished 22nd overall. A two-time BIG EAST coach of the year (2008, 2011), Holt’s teams have turned in the top four team averages during her tenure. In 2010-11, the Irish turned in four, first-place finishes, including the 2011 BIG EAST championship.

IRISH LINEUP: Notre Dame’s five-person lineup will include: Becca Huffer (Sr., Denver, Colo.); Katie Allare (Sr., Phoenix, Ariz.), Kristina Nhim (So., Cypress, Calif.), Ashley Armstrong (Fr., Flossmoor, Ill.) and Kelli Oride (Fr., Lihue, Hawaii). Huffer is a three time all-BIG EAST selection who was second on the team in 2010-11 with a 74.97 stroke average. Her 75.14 average for her career is the second-lowest total in the program’s history. Allare saw action in six tournaments as a junior and had a 78.33 average. As a freshman, Nhim played in 12 tournaments and had a 76.22 average in her rookie year. She finished third at the BIG EAST Tournament last spring. Armstrong and Oride will be playing in their first collegiate tournaments at the Golfweek Conference Challenge.

ONE OF THE BEST: Golfweek Magazine has ranked the Notre Dame women’s golf team’s home course – The Warren Golf Course – as one of the top 15 college golf courses in the nation. To qualify for the Golfweek’s Best Campus Courses list, a course must be part of a school’s recreational life in terms of preferential access for students, faculty and alumni. Last year, Golfweek ranked the Warren Golf Course as the 14th-best college golf course. This year the home course of the Irish moved up two notches to 12th, passing the likes of the University of Michigan Golf Course and Duke University Golf Course. Co-designed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran Ben Crenshaw, the Warren Golf Course opened on May 1, 2000 and has played host to three U.S. Amateur Championship qualifiers, the `05 and `10 men’s NCAA Central Regional, the `11 women’s NCAA Central Regional, three Western Amateur Championship qualifiers, five BIG EAST Conference Men’s Championships and three BIG EAST Women’s Championships.

THE CAPTAIN: Senior Becca Huffer will serve as the team’s captain for the 2011-12 season. A three-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer is coming off her best season at Notre Dame as she turned in four, top-10 finishes as a junior, including a career-best second-place finish at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate last spring as she carded a five-under par 211 in leading the Irish to a tournament win. For the season, Huffer’s 74.97 stroke average was second on the team and the second lowest of her career. In 34 career tournaments, covering 100 rounds, the industrial design major owns a 75.14 career stroke average that is second best in the program’s history. During her Notre Dame golf career, Huffer has helped the Irish to a BIG EAST Championship in 2011 and two second-place finishes in 2009 and 2010. The 2009 BIG EAST rookie of the year, she had her best conference finish last season as she finished fourth overall with a seven-over par 223. Huffer has participated in three NCAA Regionals and in 2011 helped Notre Dame to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship. As a junior in 2010-11, Huffer helped Notre Dame to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships as the team finished fifth at the Central Regional and then 22nd in the NCAA Championships in Bryan, Tex. There, she was Notre Dame’s top finisher with a 72-hole total of eight-over par, 296.

NEW KIDS: Freshmen Ashley Armstrong and Kelli Oride begin their first seasons with the Irish but are no strangers to highly competitive golf. The duo brings impressive credentials to the Irish lineup. Armstrong is a two-time HP Scholastic Junior All-American and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur this past summer. A top-five finisher in the Illinois Class AA golf championship in all four of her seasons at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, she was third in her senior season (2010). A four-time team MVP, Armstrong capped her summer of 2011 by winning the Women’s Western Amateur Tournament in July. Oride is a three-time state medalist and a two-time runner-up from Hawaii. She qualified as an alternate for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open Tournament. Oride was ranked 20th in Golfweek’s class of 2011 rankings while Armstrong was ranked 41st.

NEXT FOR THE IRISH: This week’s trip to the Tar Heel Invitational starts an ambitious schedule for the Notre Dame women’s golf team. The Irish are next in action a little closer to home as they compete in the Indiana University Fall Invitational on Mon.-Tues., Oct. 17-18 at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.