April 16, 2010
The Notre Dame women’s golf team will be in pursuit of the program’s fourth conference title when play begins at the 2010 BIG EAST Championship on Sunday, April 18 at the Island Course of the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
This season marks the eighth BIG EAST women’s golf championship. For the third consecutive season, the winner of the championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The BIG EAST announced the initial seeding for this year’s championship, which were awarded by blind draw, as follows: Rutgers was selected as the No. 1 draw. Host USF follows at No. 2. St. John’s is No. 3, Cincinnati is No. 4 and Notre Dame is No. 5. Georgetown and Louisville are the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively.
The tournament will include 54 holes, with Sunday, Monday and Tuesday consisting of one 18-hole round. Each team’s lineup will include five golfers, with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score for that day. All three days of play will begin with groups teeing off at 8:00 a.m. and the groupings for Sunday (based on the blind draw) have Notre Dame playing with Cincinnati. On Sunday and Monday, all golfers will go off the first tee, with tee times running through 10:20 a.m. Then for Tuesday’s final round, there will be a split-tee start that runs through 9:30 a.m. The teams will be reseeded on Monday and Tuesday based on their scores from the previous round.
Notre Dame’s probable lineup includes senior co-captain Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep), juniors So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep) and Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) as well as sophomores Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton HS).
Following The Irish At The Championship
Daily recaps will be posted at und.com, while complete results and updated tee times will be posted on www.bigeast.org. Also, video highlights of the entire championship can be seen free of charge at the BIG EAST web page. Live scoring of the championship will be available through www.Golfstat.com. (which can be accessed by clicking on the Live Results tab on the right-hand side of the Notre Dame women’s golf schedule page on und.com).
The 2010 BIG EAST Women’s championship will be contested on the Island Course at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla. It will be the first time that the BIG EAST Championship has been played at Innisbrook.
The resort has consistently received top accolades – including Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You Can Play,” and Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America” – it also hosts an annual PGA Tour championship and the LPGA Legend Tour’s first major.
BIG EAST History
Notre Dame captured the first-ever BIG EAST Championship in 2003 after besting runner-up Miami by 44 strokes. The Irish followed up with another title in 2004, winning by 14 shots over Miami. St. John’s took the 2005 tournament, which was shortened from 54 to 18 holes due to poor weather conditions. The Red Storm finished seven strokes ahead of Georgetown.
In 2006, Louisville bested runner-up Georgetown by 21 and followed up with a one shot win over Notre Dame in 2007. The two teams were tied after the 54 holes, but the Cardinals prevailed on the first playoff hole. In 2008, Notre Dame captured the program’s third BIG EAST title, finishing nine strokes ahead of Louisville. Annie Brophy took home medalist honors as she shot three consecutive rounds of 74 for a plus-six 222. Last year the Fighting Irish finished second to Louisville, but Lisa Maunu captured medalist honors (details below).
Notre Dame At The 2009 Championship
Lisa Maunu turned in a dominating back-nine to claim the 2009 BIG EAST individual crown as she finished at minus-one for the tournament after carding a final round minus-two 70.
As a team, the Irish shot a final day 294 to finish at plus-23, good for second place honors at the championship. The final round 294 was Notre Dame’s best team score of the tournament. Louisville came in first with a plus-12 mark.
In the final round of play at the Lake Jovita Country Club, Maunu was plus-two at the turn and then bogeyed the 10th to go three-over with eight holes to play. But with birdies on the 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 17th holes she was able to secure the BIG EAST title as she turned in one of only two under-par rounds on the day. She finished three shots ahead of Louisville’s Sara-Maude Juneau, who came in second.
Maunu, celebrating her 22nd birthday, gave the Irish back-to-back BIG EAST individual titles, as Annie Brophy won the 2008 title.
In addition to Maunu, So-Hyun Park and Brophy also finished in the top-10. The Irish duo tied for ninth with plus-eight 224 marks. In the third round, Park and Brophy each recorded plus-two 74’s.
From 2003-08, earning all-BIG EAST status was based on finishing in the top-10 at the conference’s championship event. Starting last season, the 10-member all-BIG EAST team shifted to a coaches vote. Each coach will submit a ballot with five nominees in order of rank after the BIG EAST Championship, while also voting for a Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year. Announcenment of the 2010 honorees is scheduled to be released at the end of April.
All told, the Irish have combined for 23 all-BIG EAST honors since 2003. Noriko Nakazaki, a 2007 Notre Dame graduate, is the program record holder with four all-conference accolades. With a strong showing at this year’s championship, Annie Brophy could match Nakazaki’s four-time status, as she earned league honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
BIG EAST Medalists
All-time, the Irish boast four BIG EAST medalists in Katie Brophy, Karen Lotta, Annie Brophy and Lisa Maunu. Katie Brophy tied for first as a freshman at the 2003 tournament, while Lotta did the same at the 2005 event during her senior campaign. In 2008, Annie Brophy, the younger sister of Katie, captured the title as a sophomore and Maunu earned the win in 2009 as a senior.
Versus The BIG EAST Field
During the 2009-10 season, the Irish played in tournaments against BIG EAST foes Georgetown (once), South Florida (once) and Louisville (twice). Last weekend at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., Notre Dame finished ahead of USF and Georgetown. The Irish, who finished eighth, bested 11th-place USF by 13 strokes and cleared the 13th-place Hoyas by 27 strokes.
Notre Dame and Louisville most recently clashed March 14 when the Irish finished 13th at the LSU Tiger/Wave Classic, 10 strokes ahead of 18th-place Louisville. In the fall portion of the 2009-10 season, Louisville turned in a second place showing at the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tenn. to beat the Irish by 40 strokes.
Fighting Irish head coach Susan Holt shares some thoughts on the upcoming BIG EAST Championship:
On the lineup heading into the weekend… “Annie [Brophy] is playing really well right now. I think she’s in a good leadership role not only off the course but also on the course with the way she’s been playing. Becca [Huffer] has had a really good year; she’s been solid. We just need three, four, and five to show up everyday, and we haven’t had that yet this semester. There needs to be a team effort all the way around. I think if we get that we’ll have a good outcome this weekend.”
On the competition they’ll be facing in the tournament… “If we just play good golf, the tournament will take care of itself. We’re in that position where the first part of our season is over, and we’ve pretty much secured a regional spot being ranked 39th. We should be fine, but phase two of our season is now — and it is winning the BIG EAST and then moving into the championship season with NCAAs. We just need to play good golf and get that done. Right now the biggest competition we face is ourselves.
On the Island Course at Innisbrook… “We took the team down [to the course] over spring break, and they were able to play two competitive rounds. We took advantage of that option. I liked the course, and the girls enjoyed it. There are a lot of different holes and there is a lot of variety. They need to be hitting the driver well and keep it between the trees on the fairway. Overall, the girls liked the playability of the course, so I don’t think that should be an issue.”
The Sunshine State
The Irish have played all across the state of Florida in recent years, including stops in Lake Jovita, Gainesville, Parrish, Bonita Bay, Miami, Orlando, Palm Harbor, Port St. Lucie and Tampa. All-time, only one Sunshine State native has teed it up for the Fighting Irish, namely 2001 graduate Shane Smith of St. Petersburgh, Fla. Smith served as the Irish team captain for the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Current Irish junior So-Hyun Park played her high school golf at Bradenton Prep in Bradenton, Fla.
Last Time Out
The Fighting Irish finished eighth at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational after shooting a final round 308 at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. Notre Dame finished at 63-over par (903) at the University of Florida hosted event, which concluded play on April 11.
Annie Brophy led the Irish as she turned in a final round four-over par 74 to finish at nine-over par for the tournament (219), placing her in a tie for 11th. Her final round included four birdies but she was hurt by two double bogeys and a triple.
Becca Huffer and So-Hyun Park carded final round seven-over par 77’s. Huffer, who entered the day three strokes off the lead, finished tied for 18th at 11-over par (219). She notched nine pars on the day, added eight bogeys and closed with a birdie on her final hole of play – the par five third. Park’s 77 ensured that all three of her weekend rounds counted towards Notre Dame’s team score.
Katie Conway’s final round 80 rounded out the team scoring for Notre Dame. She finished the tournament at 22-over par and tied for 46th. All told, she notched eight birdies on the weekend. Kristin Wetzel finished tied for 73rd after turning in a final round 87. She recorded a 36-over par (246) total on the weekend.
Brophy Named BIG EAST POTW
Fighting Irish women’s golfer Annie Brophy was named the BIG EAST Women’s Golfer of the Week, it was announced by the conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Brophy, a senior co-captain with the Irish, earned the honor after finishing tied for 11th at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational, which concluded play on Monday, April 11. Playing against a 15-team field that included four top-25 ranked teams, Brophy turned in a nine-over par (219) total in her three rounds of play, including four birdies in her final round of play.
With the 11th-place showing, Brophy has now finished in the top-15 in four of her nine events this season. Her finish at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational also marked her best finish of the spring campaign.
The 2008 Championship Recap
In 2008, Notre Dame captured the program’s third BIG EAST title, finishing nine strokes ahead of Louisville. Annie Brophy took home medalist honors as she shot three consecutive rounds of 74 for a 222/+6. Joining Brophy on the all-BIG EAST team Ithen chosen based on finish at the championship event) were So-Hyun Park, Lisa Maunu and Kristin Wetzel. Park finished two stokes behind Brophy to finish second overall (224/+8), while Maunu and Wetzel finished tied for fourth (227/+11).
It marked the second consecutive year that Notre Dame fielded four all-conference performers, as Brophy, Noriko Nakazaki, Julie Kim and Maunu all finished in the top-10 at the 2007 BIG EAST Championship.
Seventy-two teams will compete at three regionals for the right to advance to the national championship in Wilmington, N.C. The three regional sites for the 2010 tournament will be the Otter Creek Golf Club (Central Regional hosted by Indiana University), the Ironwood Country Club (East Regional hosted by East Carolina) and the Stanford Golf Course (West Regional hosted by Stanford University). Regional action will be played May 6-8, 2010.
The eight lowest scoring teams, as well as the two lowest scoring individuals not on an advancing teams, from each of the three regional championships will qualify for the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship. The championship will be held May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.