June 10, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Being a student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame offers a unique blend of a world-class education and the opportunity to compete at the highest levels of college athletics. Only months before she sets foot in her first classroom on the fabled South Bend campus, Isabella DiLisio (Hatfield, Pa./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) will step into her own global laboratory against some of the best junior golfers in the world.
DiLisio, an incoming freshman on the Fighting Irish women’s golf team, earned a spot on the three-player United States Junior World Cup Team that will compete in the 2015 Toyota Junior Golf World Cup June 16-19 on the Ishino Course at the Chukyo Golf Club in Toyota City, Japan.
This year marks the second time a women’s competition will be held at the Junior Golf World Cup, which began as a men’s tournament in 1992. It is the world’s only junior golf championship in which national teams from 23 countries (eight women, 15 men) come together to vie for a world title. The participating teams earned their place in the Junior World Cup field after winning regional qualifiers held across six continents and featuring more than 70 national teams.
Joining DiLisio on this year’s Team USA roster are Lauren Stephenson and Samantha Wagner. The trio will aim to improve on the Americans’ fourth-place finish in last year’s inaugural Junior World Cup, which was won by the host nation, Japan, on the same Ishino Course.
The women’s tournament is a four-round, 72-hole competition, played in a three-count-two format, with the top two scores from each team counted daily. This year’s eight-team field — expanded from five in 2014 — includes Colombia, France, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as the United States and Japan.
“I’m really looking forward to this trip and having such a tremendous opportunity to be selected to play the game I love for my country,” DiLisio said. “It’s an incredible honor and a wonderful feeling. Besides playing golf against some of the best players in the world, I’ll have the chance to visit a country I’ve never been to and learn a new culture. Most important of all, I’m hoping to gain many new friends while on this trip, both from the USA and other countries.
DiLisio is ranked No. 24 nationally in the Class of 2015, according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin junior rankings and was a 2014 Rolex/AJGA Junior All-America honorable mention selection. She registered a 73.79 stroke average in nine junior tournaments during the 2014 season, including one victory and five top-10 finishes. In addition, DiLisio won the 2014 Pennsylvania state amateur title and the 2013 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 3A individual crown.
“Any time you have the opportunity in sports to represent your country, it’s a big deal,” Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. “This is a huge honor for Isabella, and for her to have this chance so early in her golf career is a real testament to her as a person and her ability as a golfer.
“This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Isabella,” Holt added. “She will benefit from this trip in so many ways, regardless of how she plays. It will impact her so positively on both a personal and athletic level, and I believe it will also benefit her Notre Dame family as well. I’m really excited for her and looking forward to hearing about her experience when she returns.”
“After the World Cup is over, I’m heading right to Bend, Oregon, for the AJGA (America Junior Golf Association) Tournament of Champions,” DiLisio noted. “So I think this whole trip is coming at a perfect time in my life because it will help me prepare for Notre Dame in the fall. I’m going to be away from my parents and home for a few weeks, which is what I’ll be doing in college, so this will definitely help me become more independent.”
The Fighting Irish are expected to have three starters (all-Atlantic Coast Conference senior Talia Campbell, junior Jordan Ferreira and sophomore Kari Bellville) and five veterans returning next season. They will be joined by DiLisio and two other members of an incoming freshman class that features three of the nation’s top 50 players in the Class of 2015, something only one other school in the country (the University of Georgia) can match.
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 Communications Director