Junior Noriko Nakazaki and the Fighting Irish begin their pursuit of a third straight NCAA bid this weekend at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Notre Dame Looking To Continue Hot Play At Lady Razorback Invitational

Oct. 15, 2004

Notre Dame, Ind. – Consistent play has been the key for the Notre Dame women’s golf team during the past month as they have captured back-to-back invitational titles and they will look to make it a third this coming weekend at the Lady Razorback Invitational. The Irish are part of a 19-team field that will tee it up at the par 72, 6,015-yard Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark. Round one of the three-day tournament begins with a staggered start on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (CT).

THE FIELD: Missouri (7), Michigan (15), and Arkansas (18) come into the tournament as the only ranked teams according to the latest golfstat.com top-25 poll. Notre Dame has squared off against several of the schools in the field already this season. The Irish finished ahead of both Missouri and Arkansas in capturing the Jeannine McHaney Invitational/Central Regional Preview on Sept. 24-26. Michigan won the Lady Northern Invitational on Sept. 11-12 and the Irish were 40 strokes back in a tie for eighth. Notre Dame revenged that loss two weeks ago in the Shoot-Out at the Legends as the Fighting Irish took home the championship by finishing 12 strokes better than the Wolverines, who placed second. Iowa State, the winner at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 4-5, will also be a part of the action this weekend. The Irish, who have a combined record of 14-3 against the Lady Razorback field in 2004, finished 28 shots ahead of the Cyclones at the McHaney Invitational.

NOTRE DAME LINEUP: Junior co-captain Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) and sophomore Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) have spearheaded the recent Irish surge and they will look to continue that play this weekend. Brophy tied for eighth along with teammate Stacy Brown (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands), who will miss this weekend’s tournament due to an injury, as they each fired an 11-over par 227 at the Shoot-Out at the Legends. Nakazaki was two shots back in 13th for the Irish as they placed five golfers in the top-25. Senior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) will be competing in her third tournament of the 2004 fall campaign. Lotta established a Warren Golf Course record with a four-under par 68 in the third round of the Notre Dame Invitational as she finished tied for second overall. Junior Sarah Bassett (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark), who had to withdraw in the third round of the Notre Dame Invitational, qualified for her second tournament of the season and will be joined by freshman Jane Lee (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula). Lee, Brophy, and Nakazaki have been a part of all five traveling teams so far this season.

RECENT SUCCESS: Notre Dame won the Jeannine McHaney Invitatational/Central Regional Preview in Lubbock, Texas Sept. 24-26. The Irish defeated a group of very tough and competitive teams, including nationally ranked Missouri and Arkansas, as they fired a 17-over par 593 during the 36 holes of play. Brophy won the individual title with a three-under par 141 (69-72). The team followed that performance with another victory at the Shoot-Out at the Legends in Franklin, Ind. Oct. 4-5. Notre Dame carded a 54-hole total of 901 (+37) to win by 12 strokes over Michigan. Consistency has put the Irish on track for what is shaping up to be a very promising year. Four golfers placed within the top-26 of the 95-golfer field at the McHaney Invitational and Notre Dame had five within the top-25 at the Legends 72-woman field.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Debby King on the Lady Razorback Invitational …

“It’s a different travel team than we’ve had for the last four events but we are still confident in who’s going. Both Sarah (Bassett) and Karen (Lotta) have proven that they can go low. I’m looking at things differently now than in the previous tournaments. We’ve beaten everyone in the field so far this year so deep down inside we feel like we can do really well.”

Brophy on the season to date and this weekend’s tournament …

“It’s a strong field and we are looking forward to competing against some really good teams. I hope we do as well as we have been doing and if so we should have a good chance to win. Everyone has really stepped it up lately and we are all excited about this weekend.”

RESULTS: Daily results will be posted on www.ladybacks.com. For additional information please log on to www.und.com or call the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.

2004 Lady Razorback Invitational Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Augusta State, Illinois State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oral Roberts, Southern Mississippi, Southwest Missouri State, Texas A&M, Texas El Paso, Western Michigan, Wisconsin.

— ND –