April 27, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With apologies to legendary actor Dick Van Patten and fans of 1970s television, “eight is enough” for the University of Notre Dame women’s golf team.
For the eighth consecutive season, and the 10th time in program history, the Fighting Irish have earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Regionals. Notre Dame is seeded — you guessed it, eighth — and will serve as the hosts for the NCAA South Bend Regional that will be played May 7-9 at the Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,301 yards) on the Notre Dame campus.
During Monday night’s live Golf Channel broadcast, the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee unveiled the 18-team fields for each of the four regional sites, along with the six qualifying individuals for each site who were not on one of the selected squads. The top six teams and top three individual competitors (not on an advancing team) from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships May 22-27 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.
This will mark the second time the Warren Golf Course has played host to an NCAA women’s golf regional. In 2011, Notre Dame finished fifth in the NCAA Central Regional on its home layout, clinching the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships.
This year, the Fighting Irish are on pace to record the lowest single-season team stroke average in program history (296.44; current mark is 298.70 in 2012-13). Notre Dame, which is ranked 30th in the latest published Golfstat rankings, also has placed in the top five in four of its nine tournaments this season, including a victory at the season-opening Mary Fossum Invitational back on Sept. 13-14, and a runner-up finish at the Clover Cup in early March. The Fighting Irish, who are coming off a sixth-place performance at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on April 17-18 in Greensboro, North Carolina, have registered 27 wins and three ties this season against teams appearing in the top 50 of the Golfstat rankings, including 10 victories and a tie against top-25 teams, and nine wins and a tie against the other teams in this year’s South Bend Regional field.
“We are so honored to be hosting 17 of the best teams in the country at the Warren Golf Course for this year’s NCAA regional,” said Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt, who will be leading the Fighting Irish into the postseason for the eighth time in her nine-year tenure under the Golden Dome. “We’re especially excited to showcase our outstanding golf course. For our team, it’s a thrill not only to be playing in our eighth consecutive NCAA regional, but to be playing at home is awesome. We’re 1-0 advancing to the NCAA finals when hosting, and I think we have a good chance to make it out again. As a team, we are playing well and certainly have a great feeling of comfort playing at home on a course we know so well.”
Arizona, the No. 4 team in the nation according to the latest Golfstat ratings, is the top seed in the South Bend Regional after winning the Pacific-12 Conference title and earning that league’s automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are one of 12 teams in the South Bend Regional field that appear in the top 50 of the current published Golfstat ratings, with the others (listed in order of their seed) as follows: No. 5 (and reigning NCAA champion) Duke, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Wake Forest, No. 20 UC Davis, No. 23 Pepperdine, No. 26 Tulane, No. 30 Notre Dame, No. 33 Purdue, No. 39 Kent State, No. 41 Louisville and No. 45 San Jose State. Of these 12 top-50 squads, four earned automatic bids from their respective conferences (Arizona – Pac-12; UC Davis – Big West; Pepperdine – WCC; Kent State – MAC), while the other eight teams collected at-large bids to the regional.
Rounding out this year’s South Bend Regional field (and listed in seeding order beginning with No. 13) are: North Carolina, Kentucky, and four conference champions — Harvard (Ivy League), Troy (Sun Belt), Eastern Kentucky (OVC) and Youngstown State (Horizon League). YSU is the lone first-time NCAA participant in this year’s South Bend Regional field, while three of the teams (Arizona, Duke and Tulane) coming to the Warren Golf Course not only competed in last year’s NCAA regionals, but advanced to the NCAA Championships from their respective regional events — Oklahoma State just missed joining that group, falling in a playoff at last year’s NCAA Central Regional.
“The 18-team field for this year’s regional is impressive overall, and certainly one we can compete in,” Holt said. “It’s not about winning this event — it’s about finishing in the top six. That’s the goal. We have five solid players that can manage their games around this golf course, and that’s going to be key for us to reach that goal.”
Notre Dame is among five ACC schools competing in this year’s NCAA South Bend Regional, part of a record-tying nine conference schools that have advanced to NCAA regional play. The ACC also sent nine teams to last year’s NCAA regionals, with three advancing to the NCAA Championships and Duke winning the NCAA title.
Among the notable individuals scheduled to compete at the 2015 NCAA South Bend Regional are Duke’s Leona Maguire (this year’s ACC medalist and No. 1 player in the nation according to Golfstat) and Celine Boutier (No. 5 in the latest Golfstat rankings), Wake Forest’s Sierra Sims (No. 10 by Golfstat) and Allison Emrey (24th in the Golfstat ratings) and Pepperdine’s Marissa Chow (No. 16 by Golfstat). They will be joined by six individual qualifiers — Madchen Ly (Fresno State), Elizabeth Tong (Indiana), Martina Edberg (Cal State Fullerton), Leilanie Kim (Idaho), Gabby Yurik (Michigan State) and Michaela Fletcher (Memphis).
The NCAA regionals are contested in a three-day, 54-hole format, with 18 holes played each day. Teams will compete in a practice round beginning at 8 a.m. (ET) May 6 (Wednesday), before taking part in three rounds of competition May 7-9 (Thursday-Saturday), with the first tee times set for 8 a.m. (ET) each day from the No. 1 and No. 10 tees. Admission to the Warren Golf Course for the NCAA South Bend Regional is free, with patrons asked to park in the D Bulla Lot located on Bulla Road, west of Twyckenham Drive and south of the roundabout adjacent to the Warren Golf Course (shuttle service to the course will be provided for all patrons).
Thanks to the generous benefaction of 1956 Notre Dame graduate William K. Warren, and his wife, Natalie, the Warren Golf Course opened on May 1, 2000, and was designed by the Austin, Texas-based firm of Coore and Crenshaw, headed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran (and two-time Masters champion) Ben Crenshaw. During its relatively brief 15-year existence, the Warren Golf Course has played host to the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, six U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship qualifiers, two Western Amateur Championship qualifiers, three NCAA regional tournaments (the 2005 and 2010 NCAA men’s Central Regionals, in addition to the 2011 NCAA women’s Central Regional), and eight BIG EAST Conference Championships (five men and three women).
Noted for its turn-of-the-century, old-world charm that recalls the classic early Irish and American courses, the Warren Golf Course is built upon subtleties, including small undulating greens and numerous strategically-placed bunkers. Since its opening, the Warren Golf Course has been named of the best new courses in America by Golf Digest, has been tabbed a must-play venue by both Links Magazine and Golf Digest, has consistently been chosen as one of the top 10 layouts in Indiana, according to the Golfweek state-by-state ranking of the nation’s “Courses You Can Play,” and since 2010, has annually been selected as one of the top 15 college layouts in the country on the Golfweek list of “Best Campus Courses.”
A complete rundown of the teams and individuals in this year’s NCAA South Bend Regional follows (rankings listed from Golfstat/Golfweek):
Seed Team (rankings) Berth (conference) Last NCAA regional berth (result)1. Arizona (4/5) Automatic (Pac-12) 2014 (7th, Central)2. Duke (5/6) At-large (ACC) 2014 (tie-3rd, East)3. Oklahoma State (12/11) At-large (Big 12) 2014 (tie-8th, Central)4. Wake Forest (13/14) At-large (ACC) 2014 (tie-9th, West)5. UC Davis (20/21) Automatic (Big West) 2014 (12th, West)6. Pepperdine (23/22) Automatic (WCC) 2014 (9th, East)7. Tulane (26/32) At-large (American) 2014 (7th, East)8. NOTRE DAME (30/36) At-large (ACC) 2014 (18th, West)9. Purdue (33/39) At-large (Big Ten) 2013 (2nd, West)10. Kent State (39/35) Automatic (MAC) 2014 (10th, Central)11. Louisville (41/33) At-large (ACC) 2014 (18th, East)12. San Jose State (45/45) At-large (Mountain West) 2013 (6th, West)13. North Carolina (52/47) At-large (ACC) 2014 (14th, Central)14. Kentucky (54/53) At-large (SEC) 2014 (19th, East)15. Harvard (81/79) Automatic (Ivy League) 2014 (13th, Central)16. Troy (82/77) Automatic (Sun Belt) 2014 (20th, East)17. Eastern Kentucky (137/146) Automatic (OVC) 2013 (23rd, East)18. Youngstown State (167/170) Automatic (Horizon League) First appearance
Individual Qualifiers1. Madchen Ly (Fresno State)2. Elizabeth Tong (Indiana)3. Martina Edberg (Cal State Fullerton)4. Leilanie Kim (Idaho)5. Gabby Yurik (Michigan State)6. Michaela Fletcher (Memphis)
Additional information on the 2015 NCAA South Bend Regional may be found by visiting the official tournament web site by CLICKING HERE.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s golf program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s golf Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @NDwomensGolf) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director