May 6, 2015
NCAA South Bend Regional
Dates: May 7-9, 2015
Format: 54 holes (18 holes each day)
Tee Times: 8 a.m. ET Thursday (No. 1 tee); 8-10:15 a.m. ET Friday-Saturday (No. 1 or 10 tees; times/locations based on 18- and 36-hole results)
Location: Notre Dame, Ind.
Course (Par/Yardage): Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,301 yards)
Tournament Field, listed in order of regional seed (current Golfstat ranking): Arizona (4), Duke (5), Oklahoma State (12), Wake Forest (13), UC Davis (20), Pepperdine (23), Tulane (26), Notre Dame (30), Purdue (33), Kent State (39), Louisville (41), San Jose State (45), North Carolina (52), Kentucky (54), Harvard (81), Troy (82), Eastern Kentucky (137) and Youngstown State (167) — there also will be six individual participants representing Fresno State, Indiana, Cal State Fullerton, Idaho, Michigan State and Memphis.
Notre Dame Lineup (2014-15 stroke average): Talia Campbell (73.41), Kari Bellville (77.33), Ashley Armstrong (73.93), Kelli Oride (76.07), Jordan Ferreira (74.67).
Live Scoring: golfstat.com
Tournament Central: UND.com
Digital Program: NCAA.com
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — It might be hard for some to understand how one might find NCAA postseason competition relaxing. Then again, they probably haven’t met this year’s University of Notre Dame women’s golf team.
With final exams now firmly in the rearview mirror, and the opportunity to compete on their home course, it should come as no surprise the Fighting Irish are finding the NCAA South Bend Regional to be a welcome respite as they get set to compete in the postseason for the eighth consecutive year beginning at 8 a.m. (ET) Thursday from the No. 1 tee at the Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,301 yards).
This marks the second time in five seasons Notre Dame and the award-winning Warren Golf Course have played host to an NCAA women’s golf regional. In 2011, some of the nation’s elite teams descended on South Bend for NCAA postseason action, and the Fighting Irish themselves took full advantage. Notre Dame finished fifth in the (then) 24-team field to secure the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship berth.
The tournament has changed slightly in the five years since it last came to the Warren Golf Course. There now are four regional sites (up from the previous three), resulting in a smaller field at each regional (18 teams and 96 total participants, counting six individual competitors). What’s more, NCAA Championship berths will be harder to come by, as only the top six teams and two individuals not on an advancing team will punch their tickets for the NCAA finals May 22-27 at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 30 in this week’s Golfstat rankings and is seeded eighth in the 18-team NCAA South Bend Regional field. The Fighting Irish currently maintain a 296.44 stroke average this season, putting them on pace to top Notre Dame’s single-season record of 298.70 set in 2012-13. The Fighting Irish also have finished in the top five in four of nine tournaments this year, including a victory at the season-opening Mary Fossum Invitational and a runner-up placement at the Clover Cup back in March.
While it has often benefited from daily practices at the Warren Golf Course and the multi-million dollar Rolfs Family Varsity All-Season Golf Facility, this weekend’s NCAA competition will mark the first time Notre Dame has played in a tournament on its home course since the aforementioned 2011 NCAA Central Regional.
“Playing at home this week and hosting the regional is such a great opportunity for us,” Fighting Irish head coach Susan Holt said. “It’s so great to play on a course you know and are familiar with. We know how tough the Warren Golf Course is and that local knowledge will help us manage our games around the course. If we execute, we have an excellent chance to advance to the finals.
“I don’t think there’s any additional pressure on us playing at home,” Holt added. “Instead, I believe it’s a great advantage that we need to capitalize on.”
Holt has been the architect of Notre Dame’s success during the past nine seasons, including its current run of eight consecutive NCAA regional berths. She is no stranger to postseason golf, having led her teams (both Notre Dame and previously at South Florida) to a combined 13 NCAA regionals since 1994, including three trips to the NCAA Championship.
The Fighting Irish also have a great deal of postseason experience in their lineup, with four of the five players competing this weekend having competed for Notre Dame in last year’s NCAA West Regional. In fact, when seniors Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) and Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii/Kauai) hit their opening tee shots on Thursday, they will be the third and fourth players in program history to compete in four NCAA regionals.
Armstrong and Oride were Notre Dame’s top two finishers last year in the NCAA West Regional, and Armstrong also led the Fighting Irish in the 2012 NCAA Central Regional. This season, Armstrong, who also is a two-time Academic All-America selection and ACC Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, ranks second on the team with a 73.93 stroke average, the fourth-lowest single-season total in program history. Meanwhile, Oride owns a 76.07 stroke average this year, while her 77.59 career mark is 12th-best on the Fighting Irish charts.
Along with Armstrong, Notre Dame is led by junior Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy), who earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors on Wednesday and boasts a 73.41 stroke average, the second-best single-season mark in the Fighting Irish record book. Campbell has been the top Fighting Irish finisher in five tournaments this season and has been a reliable anchor in the lineup, with 26 of her 27 rounds (96.3 percent) counting towards the team score.
Sophomore Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) has shown flashes of promise throughout this season, presently ranking third on the team with a 74.67 stroke average that is good for seventh-best on the Notre Dame single-season list. Ferreira has posted five top-20 finishes this year, highlighted by six rounds of 71 or lower during an 11-round span earlier in the season.
Freshman Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) could be the x-factor for the Fighting Irish this season. The local product is coming off the best tournament performance of brief college career, tying for 26th place at last month’s ACC Championship with a four-over par 220, including an opening-round 71.
“The last two weeks, we’ve been playing nine or 18 holes every day on the (Warren) course,” Holt said. “We have been doing some extra short game work while playing, hitting extra putts and chips to different hole locations to really get a feel for the greens and how the ball is reacting. Our preparation has been very focused, even with finals week going on, which has made things a bit hectic, to say the least. Now that exams are over, we expect our players will be able to recoup their energy, not to mention benefit from sleeping in their own beds, and be fresh and ready to go when we tee off on Thursday.”
Notre Dame will offer live scoring of the NCAA South Bend Regional through the Golfstat web site. In addition, daily recaps on Notre Dame’s progress will be posted on the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (UND.com).
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