March 20, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish women’s golf team will head to Hawaii for the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational this Tuesday and Wednesday at the par 72, 5,829-yard Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course. This will mark the program’s first-ever trip to Hawaii for a competition. Notre Dame is looking to get on the right track after struggling during the first two tournaments of the spring season.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The 12-team field will take to the Klipper Golf Course in Kaneohe for 36 holes of play on Tuesday beginning with a 7:30 a.m. (Hawaii Time) shotgun start. Wednesday’s third and final round will also begin with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. The tournament will count the low four of five scores towards the team total.
FIELD: The field of 12 features a mix of teams that the Irish have not seen much of this season. Tennessee comes in as the highest-ranked team as the Volunteers are No. 16 in the latest golfstat.com rankings. New Mexico is 22nd in the rankings, while LSU is 31st. The Fighting Irish come in next at No. 54. Princeton (70), Kansas State (71), UTEP (84), the host school Hawaii (93) and Mercer (127) round out the Division I members of the field. Hawaii-Hilo is ranked 27th in Division II and the University of British Columbia is an NAIA school. Also competing will be Osaka Gakuin University of Japan.
Notre Dame has only faced three of the teams so far this season. The Irish are 2-1 against Kansas State and 0-1 against both LSU and UTEP.
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: The entire Fighting Irish squad will make the trek to the islands, yet only five members will comprise the scoring lineup. Senior co-captain Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) will tee it up from the No. 1 position in the lineup, while junior Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) occupies the second spot. Nakazaki leads the team with a 75.91 scoring-average so far this season and Brophy is second with a 77.09 mark. The duo shares the team lead with 22 of 23 rounds counting towards the team score.
Senior Lauren Gebauer (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) carries a 78.30 stroke-average and will play from the No. 3 position in the Irish lineup. Freshman Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/ Parkside Collegiate Institute) and senior co-captain Suzie Hayes (Dublin, Ireland/Loreto College) will go from the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Maunu possesses an 80.26 average and Hayes brings an 81.67 season-average into the tournament.
Sophomore Alejandra Diaz-Calderon (Guadalajara, Mexico/American) and freshman Courtney Sullivan (Gresham, Ore./Sam Barlow) will compete as individual entrants during the event. They have both competed in one other tournament so far during the 2005-06 campaign, the season-opening Notre Dame Invitational.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fighting Irish struggled at Texas A&M’s `Mo’ Morial (March 10-12) as they placed 18th overall. Notre Dame fired a 54-hole score of 1,012 (334-329-349) at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas. Arkansas and Texas A&M were co-champions as both teams registered a 923 total.
Brophy led the team with an 18-over par 234 (79-74-81) to place 16th overall. The next highest Irish finisher was Nakazaki, who placed in a tie for 69th with a 251 (82-82-87). Ashley Knoll from Texas A&M took home medalist honors with a two-over par 218 (74-70-74).
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Debby King discusses the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invite and assesses her team’s play at this point of the season …
On the Klipper Golf Course …
“The front nine is inland, while the back nine is along the water. It’s very beautiful but tough and similar to Pebble Beach and you have to deal with the surf winds.”
On the expectations of the team heading into the tournament …
“We are the fourth ranked team in the field according to golfstat. A top-four finish would be pretty good and it would be great if we could finish higher than that.”
On the mindset of the team at this point of the season …
“I think our performance last week (at the `Mo’ Morial) hurt our chances for another NCAA bid. We may have to set new goals for the rest of the season. We would like to get our scoring-average down to 301, where it was. Winning the BIG EAST will also be another one of our goals.”
RESULTS: Results will be posted on the University of Hawaii athletics web site at hawaiiathletics.com.
NEXT UP: Notre Dame will travel to Harrisonburg, Va. to take part in the James Madison University Invitational, Apr. 8-9, at the Lakeview Golf Course.
Stay up-to-date on the Notre Dame women’s golf team by logging on to und.com or by calling the Notre Dame Athletics Hotline at (574) 631-3000.