May 7, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The road to qualify for the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship is never an easy one. Playing in its eighth consecutive NCAA regional, the University of Notre Dame understands the challenges of getting to the national finals, and that’s why every Fighting Irish player and coach knows a championship ticket can’t be guaranteed on day one, but it can certainly be lost.
Notre Dame battled through some ups and downs throughout Thursday’s first round of the NCAA South Bend Regional at the Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,301 yards), finishing in 12th place at 302 (+14), tying the fourth-lowest single-round score in a regional in program history. The Fighting Irish are six strokes out of the final qualifying NCAA Championship spot (currently shared by fifth-place squads Kent State and Oklahoma State), and 14 shots back of first-round leader and defending NCAA champion Duke. All told, 11 schools are separated by nine strokes between second and 12th place in the compacted team standings.
“As I told the team after our round, I’m confident this will probably be the worst score we’ll put up this weekend,” Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. “We had some tough breaks today and in particular, we didn’t do enough to capitalize on our opportunities around the greens. In the end, despite not playing nearly our best on our home course, we’re in contention, and at this point in the tournament, that’s a good place to be.”
Sophomore Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) was the top Fighting Irish individual competitor on Thursday, posting a one-over par 73 to tie for 16th place in the 96-golfer field. Ferreira turned in a very consistent first-round scorecard with 15 pars and a birdie on the par-5 fifth hole, countered only by single bogeys on Nos. 7 and 14, to match the seventh-lowest single-round regional score in school history.
Ferreira is six shots back of overnight leader Celine Boutier of Duke, who fired an opening-round 67 (-5).
“Jordan really gave us a lift playing from the No. 5 position in our lineup today,” Holt said. “This course suits her game and she played with focus and confidence. We all believe this is the kind of score she’s capable of each and every time out, and it was great to see her get off to this kind of start.”
Senior Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii/Kauai) also turned in a solid first round, tying for 31st place at three-over par 75. As one of four Notre Dame players in history to compete in four NCAA regionals, Oride brings a great deal of experience into this weekend’s tournament, and it showed Thursday, as the veteran rebounded from three early bogeys by playing the final 10 holes in one-over par and carding the best single-round score in a regional in her four-year Fighting Irish career.
“Kelli really found her rhythm as the round went along,” Holt said. “She had some rough patches on the front side, but once she made the turn, she started to build some momentum and I think that will really help her as the regional continues.”
Junior Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) and senior captain Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) both rank among the top five on Notre Dame’s single-season stroke average list, but each had her troubles on Thursday, ending up tied for 49th place after matching opening-round totals of 77 (+5).
Armstrong’s round was particularly curious, as the two-time Academic All-America selection opened with two birdies in her first six holes. She then fell back with four bogeys in an eight-hole stretch midway through the round, but a birdie on No. 17 seemed to have righted her ship. That’s when disaster struck, as Armstrong found the creek twice on Warren’s treacherous 18th hole and took a quadruple-bogey eight.
“It was tough to see something like that happen to Ashley, who I believe has rarely if ever found that creek in all the time she’s been at Notre Dame,” Holt said. “I think she was just a little too fired up after her birdie on 17 and got a little too aggressive looking for another one on 18 to get back to even and she paid for it.
“I have no doubt that Ashley and Talia both will bounce back with a much better effort on Friday,” Holt added. “They’re both experienced players who have the talent and mental toughness to block out a bad round and come through with a great one the next time out.”
Freshman Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) was making her NCAA postseason debut on Thursday and shot a six-over par 78 that puts her in a tie for 61st place. With five bogeys in her first seven holes, Bellville showed some early nerves, no surprise for an NCAA regional rookie, but she played the role of a steely veteran in her final 11 holes, which she covered in one-over par.
Notre Dame will return to the Warren Golf Course for the second round of the NCAA South Bend Regional at 8 a.m. (ET) Friday, beginning on the No. 10 tee — live scoring will be available through the Golfstat web site.
“We’re going to have another good opportunity in front of us, getting out early before the potential for some rain comes through later in the day,” Holt said. “We know the Warren better than any team in the field and we just have to play the course the way we know how. We left some chances out there in the first round, but if we clean things up a bit and cash in on those opportunities on Friday, we’ll be able to position ourselves very well moving forward.”
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NCAA South Bend Regional
May 7, 2015 — Through 18 Holes
Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,301 yards)
Notre Dame, Ind.
TEAM SCORES (18-hole totals): 1. Duke 288; 2. Wake Forest 293; 3. Arizona 294; 4. UC Davis 295; 5. (tie) Kent State and Oklahoma State 296; 7. (tie) Tulane and Harvard 298; 9. (tie) Purdue and Pepperdine 299; 11. Kentucky 301; 12. NOTRE DAME 302; 13. Louisville 305; 14. Eastern Kentucky 307; 15. North Carolina 308; 16. (tie) San Jose State and Troy 310; 18. Youngstown State 311.
TOP 11 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 96): 1. Celine Boutier (DU) 67; 2. (tie) Marissa Dodd (WF), Becca Horner (TROY) and Isabelle Johansson (UK) 70; 5. (tie) Emma Broze (OSU), Allison Emrey (WF), Paige Lee (UCD), Blair Lewis (UCD), Brenna Nelson (HU), Lindsey Weaver (UA) and Rachel Welker (EKU) 71; 16. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 73; 31. (tie) Kelli Oride (ND) 75; 49. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) and Ashley Armstrong (ND) 77; 61. (tie) Kari Bellville (ND) 78.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director