March 10, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The physical-training sessions, mental exercises and practices are finally coming to an end for the Notre Dame women’s golf team. After a four-month hiatus, the Irish will continue their most successful season in program history Friday-Sunday, March 12-14, at the inaugural St. Croix Collegiate Classic in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Notre Dame will be coming off a six-event fall schedule that was highlighted by three tournament victories (tying a single-season Irish record) and the lowest semester average in school history (303.89). Notre Dame is currently ranked 43rd in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index ratings and is looking to secure the program’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Championships.
The Tournament: The St. Croix Collegiate Classic will be a 54-hole tournament played on the par-72, 6,020-yard Robert Trent Jones, Sr., course at the Carambola Golf Club. The event will consist of 18 holes on each day of the tournament and all three rounds will start with tee times on holes 1 and 10. The first tee time all three days is set for 6:00 (EST) with Notre Dame beginning play Friday, March 12, at 6:45 (EST). Teams will be seeded for Saturday’s and Sunday’s tee times based on team scores for 18 holes and 36 holes, respectively.
The Teams: The St. Croix Collegiate Classic features a 15-team field that includes Baylor, Boston College, Bucknell, Illinois, Illinois State, Longwood, Notre Dame, Rend Lake, Southern Methodist, Texas State, Texas Pan-American, Texas Tech, Wichita State, Wyoming and Xavier (host institution). Baylor is the only team in the field with a higher Golfweek/Sagarin rating (37th) than the Irish, and Texas Tech is two spots behind Notre Dame at 45th.
Irish Lineup: Third-year Notre Dame head coach Debby King is bringing eight players to the Virgin Islands with five to play in the scoring lineup and three to participate in the tournament as individuals. The eight-player travel party is comprised of sophomore Sarah Bassett (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark); sophomore Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep), who earned medalist honors in two tournaments during the spring of ’03 (Peggy Kirk Bell and BIG EAST Championship); freshman Stacy Brown (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands); senior co-captain Shannon Byrne (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove); sophomore Lauren Gebauer (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington); sophomore Suzie Hayes (Dublin, Ireland/Loreto College); junior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) and freshman Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates), who led Notre Dame in the fall with a 74.89 stroke average.
Last Tournament: This will be Notre Dame’s first tournament of the spring season. The Irish last were in action on November 3-4, 2003, where they took first place (18-team field) at the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate. Notre Dame fired its second sub-900 score of the fall, and in school history, at the Kiawah Island, S.C., event as the Irish turned in rounds of 301, 300 and 291 for a 54-hole mark of 892 (+28). The team was led by top-10 performances from Brown, Brophy and Lotta. Brown (73-73-78) and Brophy (75-78-71) both tied for sixth place at eight-over par 224 while Lotta carded a 225 (78-75-72) to earn a tie for ninth.
Tournament Results: Results will be available on the Notre Dame website at www.und.com after play is completed on each day of the tournament.
Next For The Irish: Following their trip to St. Croix, U.S.V.I., the Irish will be back in action March 19-21, at the Baylor/Tapito Springs Shootout in Boerne, Texas, which is one of the top tournaments in the country.
– ND –