April 7, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A goal for the Notre Dame women’s golf team all year long has been to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament and this weekend will go a long way in determining if they will be packing their golf bags for the NCAA central regional in Lubbock, Texas May 5-7. The Fighting Irish will take to the par 72, 6,181-yard Kampen Golf Course in West Lafayette, Ind. for the Lady Boilermaker Invitational this Saturday and Sunday. The Irish are coming off two straight victories against fields that will not meet the caliber of the teams they will square off against this weekend. A good showing versus several quality teams from the central region is a high priority for the Fighting Irish.
TOURNAMENT: The Lady Boilermaker Invitational begins Saturday, April 9, with continuous play in the first two rounds beginning with an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start. The final round will begin with tee times on Sunday, April 10. The scoring format for the tournament will be six players, with the low four scores from each team for each round being counted towards the overall team score. Results will be posted daily on purduesports.com. Additional information can be found at und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at 574-631-3000.
FIELD: The field will have a Big Ten feel to it as five of the 13 teams hail from the conference. Joining the host school Purdue from the league will be Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin. Completing the field along with the Irish will be East Carolina, Iowa State, Jackson State, Kansas, Kent State, Texas A&M and TCU.
Notre Dame will have its focus on Michigan and Iowa State among others, as the Irish hope a good performance versus those squads will improve their NCAA footing. The Fighting Irish are 2-3 against the Wolverines this season and own a 1-2 mark against the Cyclones, while the team is 13-5-1 versus the rest of the field.
Five of the teams are placed higher than the 51st-ranked Irish in the latest golfstat.com poll. Michigan ranks 26th, Kent State 33rd, Texas A&M 35th, Purdue 37th, and Northwestern is 42nd.
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: Taking to the course for the Irish will be sophomore Noriko Nakazaki, junior Katie Brophy, senior Karen Lotta, sophomore Stacy Brown, and freshmen Jane Lee and Alejandra Diaz-Calderon. Nakazaki and Brophy have been part of every scoring team this season, while Brown and Lee have only missed one event. This will be Diaz-Calderon’s first tournament as part of the traveling squad.
Brophy, a co-captain, leads the team with a 75.92 stroke average during the 2004-05 season, while Nakazaki is second with a 76.04 average and a team-leading 75.88 average so far during the spring campaign. The Fighting Irish own a team average of 304.84 for the season.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Irish head coach Debby King and senior Karen Lotta give their thoughts on the Lady Boilermaker Invitational and what it will take to succeed.
Debby King – Head Coach
On the confidence of the team …
“Winning the past two tournaments will definitely help us for the final two events. Twelve of the 14 teams in this event are in our region so it’s a very good opportunity for us. They (the Notre Dame golfers) are looking forward to a tougher field and it will help us to qualify for the NCAA. We hope to exceed our potential in these next two events starting with Purdue. We are excited to have the chance to go out there and play and show what we can do.”
Goals for the Lady Boilermaker Invitational …
“At Purdue there will be five or six teams there that are ranked higher than we are. Obviously our goal is to beat those teams and move up in the rankings. We want to beat our main rivals, teams like Iowa State, Northwestern and Kent State.”
On the teams’ approach for the next two tournaments …
“They (the golfers) know these next two weeks are important. We will have a team meeting to discuss where we stand. Some of them want to know because they like to know who they have to beat and others don’t want to know, they just want to go out and play. I approach it on an individual basis with each of them and tell them if they want to know.”
Karen Lotta – Senior
On the Lady Boilermaker Invitational …
“We haven’t played the toughest fields these past two events so we are pumped and excited to go out there and play because we know it’ll determine if we make it back to regional or not.”
“We just want to do well. We know that we can compete with anyone if we play up to our potential. We just need to keep focused because we know what we have to do.”
On finishing strong as a senior …
“I’m just trying to finish as well as I can knowing that this is my last year. I just want to finish on a good note.”
LAST TIME OUT: For the third time this season Notre Dame completed a clean sweep of the team and individual titles at an event. The Irish defeated the 19-team field at the Indiana Invitational with a 20-over par 620 (312-308) and sophomore Noriko Nakazaki captured her first collegiate victory in the process with a two-over par 146 (71-75). The win at the par 72, 6,142-yard Indiana University Golf Club on April 3 gave the Irish their fourth title of the 2004-05 season, which ties the school record established one year ago.
Poor course conditions on day one forced the tournament to be reduced from 54-holes to 36. Katie Brophy overcame recent struggles to collect yet another top-five finish for her career as she carded a 10-over par 154 (76-78). Karen Lotta nearly cracked the top-10 as she posted a 13-over par 157 (80-77) to tie for 11th overall. Stacy Brown and Sarah Bassett each saw their scores improve with the weather during the second round of play. Brown knocked seven strokes off her first round total to finish with a 19-over par 163 (85-78) to place in a tie for 37th. Bassett dropped eleven shots of her first day round to close out with a 173 (92-81) and in a tie for 87th. Suzie Hayes had to withdraw from the first round of play due to a hand injury yet returned to the Irish lineup on Sunday to register a six-over par 78.
NEXT UP FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame will travel to Columbus, Ohio for another solid tournament as the team will take part in the Lady Buckeye Invitational April 16 and 17.