March 9, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team will compete in two tournament’s during the University’s spring break. First on the docket is a trip to Nevada for the UNLV Spring Invitational, which will take place March 12-14. Eighteen teams will tee it up at the par 72, 6,153-yard Boulder Creek Golf Club. This will be the second event of the spring for Notre Dame. The Irish placed 10th of 14 the last time out at the Central District Classic (Feb. 19-20). Notre Dame will compete at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas next weekend (March 16-18).
TOURNAMENT: UNLV will serve as the host of the three-day event. The Rebels won the 2006 tournament with a three-round score of 879 (-15). Indiana’s Shannon Johnson captured medalist honors with a five-under par 211. Each team’s lineup will be comprised of five golfers with the lowest four scores for each round counting towards the overall team score. The tournament will consist of 54 holes with all three days featuring 18 holes of play.
FIELD: A field of 18 teams will take to the Boulder Creek Golf Club for the three-day event. Headlining the field will be two top-20 teams. BYU is ranked 14th in the latest Golfstat rankings, while New Mexico is 15th. The host Rebels are 30th, while the Irish are currently ranked 65th. Completing the field in order of ranking is San Francisco (37), Campbell (39), Washington State (50), Nebraska (54), Long Beach State (55), Idaho (56), New Mexico State (57), Indiana (58), Fresno State (62), Boise State (74), Texas Tech (78), Iowa (79), San Diego State (101) and Eastern Washington (113).
The Fighting Irish have faced seven of the competing teams so far this season. Notre Dame has downed Fresno State, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and San Diego State. BYU has topped the Irish, while Campbell is the only team that Notre Dame has squared off against twice. The Camels are 2-0 against the Irish.
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: Senior co-captain Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) will look to pace the Fighting Irish from the No. 1 position in the lineup. Nakazaki leads the Irish with a 75.24 scoring average. All 17 of her rounds this season have counted towards the team score, while she also has the team’s top round (70) and 54-hole total (219).
Freshman Julie Kim (Bayside, N.Y./Bayside) will be second in the Irish lineup in just her second career event. She had an impressive performance during her collegiate debut at the Central District Classic. She shared team-leading honors with Nakazaki as they both posted 230 totals. Kim, who did not compete during the first semester due to an injury, carded rounds of 76, 73 and 81.
Fellow freshman Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) will play from the third spot. Brophy has competed in all six tournaments this season and she carries a 78.06 scoring average. Her low round of the season is a two-over par 74 and her top 54-hole total is a 229 (+13), which was carded at the Cougar Classic. She has had 14 of her 17 rounds scored for the team.
A third rookie will be a part of the Notre Dame lineup as Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y./Hilton Head Prep) occupies the fourth position. She owns a 78.94 stroke average. Wetzel’s best three-round score of the season is a 16-over par 232, which included her top round of 72 (E) at the Lady Irish Invitational (Sept. 23-24). She has participated in all six tournaments with 15 of her 17 rounds counting towards the team’s score.
Lisa Maunu (St. Thomas, Ontario/Collegiate Parkside Institute) rounds out the Fighting Irish lineup from the No. 5 spot. The sophomore’s 76.67 season scoring average ranks her second on the team. Her top round is a one-under par 71, which she achieved twice. Maunu’s low three-round score of the season is a 222 (+6) at the Cougar Classic (Sept. 11-12). Her rounds have counted towards the team total on 14 of 17 occasions.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fighting Irish placed 10th out of 14 teams at the Central District Classic, which took place Feb. 19 and 20 at the par 72 River Wilderness Golf Club in Parrish, Fla. Notre Dame posted a 54-hole total of 922 (+58) with rounds of 309, 303 and 310.
Kim had an impressive debut for the Irish as she and Nakazaki led the team with identical 230 totals. Kim carded rounds of 76, 73 and 81, while Nakazaki shot a 75 in the first two rounds before finishing the tournament with an 80. The duo concluded the event in a tie for 30th among the field of 73.
Brophy was close behind with a 231 (79-76-76) and in a tie for 36th. Her classmate Wetzel registered a 234 (79-79-76) total to tie for 46th, while Maunu rounded out the Irish lineup with a 254 (89-87-78) and tied for 71st.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt talks about the team and the week ahead …
“Our confidence is pretty high after the last tournament. We were really close going into the last day and we were disappointed with how we played, but I think that’ll serve as motivation for us. We are excited and ready to play. We just need to put together three good days.”
“These next two tournaments will be nice because they are both 18 holes per day. That gives us a chance to practice a little more as opposed to playing 36 one day and then coming back and playing 18 and then going home.”
“Both of the fields in these tournaments are very competitive. That puts us in a good position, if we play well, to move up in the rankings. We moved up after the last tournament because we beat some of the teams that were ahead of us. That’s important as far as trying to get an NCAA bid. We also need to get our team stroke average down, because that’s also very important for trying to get to the postseason.”
RESULTS: Live scoring and full results of the UNLV Spring Invitational can be found at Golfstat.com.
NEXT UP: Notre Dame returns to the course on March 16-18 at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas. The event will be held at the University Golf Club.