April 14, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Another crucial tournament awaits the Notre Dame women’s golf team this weekend when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to play in the Lady Buckeye Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. The Irish will be teeing it up against a difficult field at the challenging par 72, 6,201-yards Scarlet Course near the campus of Ohio State University. A solid and consistent performance is the goal for the Fighting Irish as they look to solidify their NCAA tournament chances in the final event before the BIG EAST Championship.
LADY BUCKEYE INVITATIONAL: The Lady Buckeye Invitational begins Saturday, April 16, with continuous play in the first two rounds beginning with an 8:30 a.m. (ET) shotgun start. The final round will begin with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start on Sunday, April 17. The scoring format for the tournament will be six players, with the low four scores from each team for each round being counted towards the overall team score. Results will be posted daily on ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Additional information can be found at und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at 574-631-3000.
LADY BUCKEYE FIELD: Unfamiliarity should not be an issue this weekend as Notre Dame has faced each of the 14 other teams at least once this season. Six of the 15 teams find themselves in the top-50 of the latest golfstat.com rankings, including the Irish at 46th. Leading the way is the host school Ohio State as the Buckeyes are ranked 13th.
Just as the team did at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational a week ago, Notre Dame will have its sights set on squads that are close to them in the standings. Kent State at 31st is one of those teams along with Purdue (38), Michigan State (42) and Northwestern (43). The Fighting Irish are 1-10-1 this season against the teams in the field that are ranked above them.
Joining those squads on the course will be Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Marshall, Ohio University, Penn State, Toledo and Western Michigan. Notre Dame owns a perfect record of 22-0 versus the rest of the field so far this season.
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: The Fighting Irish will send out junior Katie Brophy, sophomore Stacy Brown, senior Karen Lotta, sophomore Noriko Nakazaki, freshman Jane Lee and junior Suzie Hayes. This somewhat young but experienced group has combined to play in 50 tournaments this season. Brophy and Nakazaki have made every trip for the squad this season, while Brown and Lee have only missed one event. Lotta and Hayes, a co-captain, will look to provide leadership in what is going to be a very crucial tournament for Notre Dame’s post-season hopes.
Brophy, a co-captain, leads the team with a 75.96 stroke average during the 2004-05 season, while Nakazaki is second with a 76.36 average and a team-leading 76.73 average so far during the spring campaign. The Fighting Irish own a team average of 305.07 for the season.
LAST TIME OUT: The Irish finished eighth out of 13 teams with a 921 (+57) at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational on April 9-10 in West Lafayette, Ind. Katie Brophy collected the 12th team-leading tournament effort of her career with a 229 (74-77-78) to place in a tie for 18th overall. Michigan and TCU tied for the team crown with an 898. Kansas’ Amanda Costner won the individual title with a 217.
Stacy Brown fired a 231 (78-78-75) to tie for 26th, while Karen Lotta was two shots behind after carding rounds of 75, 78 and 80 to place in a tie at 34th. Noriko Nakazaki registered an uncharacteristically high three round total of 237 (79-75-83) to tie for 45th and Jane Lee tied for 48th with a 239 (79-83-77). Freshman Alejandra Diaz-Calderon shot a 247 (76-80-91) in her first-ever appearance as a member of the scoring team.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Irish head coach Debby King and freshman Jane Lee discuss the Lady Buckeye Invitational.
Debby King – Head Coach
On the Lady Buckeye Invitational …
“The important teams that we hope to beat are Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue and Kent State. Beating those four teams is reachable. We would like to beat Ohio State but that would be a tough one. We should beat the others.”
“Our goals are to try and beat those teams that I mentioned. Ohio State is a tough course but I would still like to aim for a 305 average. Keeping our average down is also important when it comes to being picked for the NCAA tournament.”
“This is our third tournament in a row so I gave them (the golfers) Thursday off. I want them to be nice and rested for this tournament.”
On Ohio State’s Scarlet Golf Course …
“Karen (Lotta) and myself are the only ones that have ever played the (Scarlet) course. I gave them (the golfers) a copy of my yardage book with my notes from a few years ago when I played there. Karen has also been a big help in going over each hole with the rest of the team.”
On last weekend’s Lady Boilermaker Invitational …
“Michigan is really tough this year. It would have been nice to get Northwestern but they had an exceptional tournament and that happens. Beating Iowa State was key. We didn’t do anything extraordinary but there were some highlights. Ale (Diaz-Calderon) in her first away trip shot a 76 in the first round and that was pretty big. Stacy’s (Brown) 75 on the final day was good as well.”
Jane Lee – Freshman
On the team and individual goals heading into the Lady Buckeye Invitational …
“Our goal is to get back to regional and right now we are borderline so this tournament is very important. I’m going to try and go out there and play my game and not think about the other teams but just play and try to beat the course.”
On Ohio State’s Scarlet Golf Course …
“Other people have told me that the course is longer and the greens are bigger. So if you don’t get it on the green you’ll have to chip longer but if you do get it on the green you’ll probably have a longer putt so I’ve been trying to prepare for that.”
On her freshman year …
“I have some regrets in hoping that I would have done better in some of the tournaments. But I do realize that I’m still adjusting to both school and golf. I am working on things to improve for next season. I look forward to being able to help the freshmen out next year as well. My teammates have been great this year. I couldn’t have done anything without them. The team captains have been great in showing and telling me what to do and what’s important.”
NEXT UP FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH: Notre Dame will host the BIG EAST Conference Championship at the Warren Golf Course next Saturday and Sunday, April 23 and 24.