April 25, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s golf team capped off its outstanding 2003-04 regular season on Sunday in the same fashion it did so a year ago, winning the BIG EAST Championship. The Irish turned in rounds of 302, 293 – a Championship record for 18 holes – and a final-round 310 for a 54-hole mark of 41-over 905 to cruise to a 14-stroke victory over second-place Miami (306-308-305–919). Notre Dame also won the inaugural BIG EAST Women’s Golf Championship over Miami in 2003. By winning the BIG EAST title, the Irish set a school record for tournament wins in a single season with four (Cougar Classic, Notre Dame Invitational, Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate, BIG EAST Championship). Notre Dame played host to the BIG EAST tournament at the par-72, 6,003-yard Warren Golf Course for the second year in a row.
“It’s extremely exciting to win the BIG EAST again,” said Notre Dame head coach Debby King. “On the other hand, it would be even better if an automatic bid came with this win, because the team put in so much this year; they deserve to play in the NCAAs. We won because the team was confident and each player took a turn being the one to step up. It also is a testament to the job (assistant coach) Ann Slater has done to help our team. She is one of the best assistants in the country.”
Individually, the Irish were led throughout by freshman Noriko Nakazaki (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates). The rookie fired scores of 75, two-under 70 – the lowest round in BIG EAST Championship history – and 77 for a 54-hole total of six-over par 222, which was good for third place and 2003-04 all-BIG EAST accolades. Nakazaki entered day two in a tie for first with Boston College freshman Alison Walshe, but fell short by two strokes to Walshe, who went on to secure medalist honors with a mark of 220 (71-74-75). Georgetown sophomore Chirsty Larrimore was the tourney runner-up, earning all-conference honors for the second straight year with her three-round score of 221 (72-76-73).
After Nakazaki for Notre Dame was 2003 BIG EAST co-champion Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep), as the sophomore was named an all-BIG EAST selection for the second consecutive season. Brophy finished in a fourth-place tie at this year’s Championship with scores of 75, 75 and 74 for a 54-hole mark of 224.
Junior Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) was next among Irish players and gave Notre Dame its third member of the all-BIG EAST team. Lotta took seventh by rebounding from an 81 in the opening round to card scores of even-par 72, her low round of the spring, and 76 for an event total of 229. Lotta also earned all-conference honors in 2002-03.
Behind Lotta in eighth was sophomore Sarah Bassett (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark). Bassett fired rounds of 74 and 76 on day one, which included two eagles, followed by an 83 on Sunday for a 54-hole score of 233.
Rounding out the lineup at Notre Dame’s season finale was sophomore Suzie Hayes (Dublin, Ireland/Loreto College). Hayes shot scores of 78, 84 and 83 to give her a three-round total of 245.
After its best season in program history, Notre Dame now must wait in anticipation of earning its first-ever berth to the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships. The Irish finished the regular season with a scoring average of 308.58, a school record and almost eight strokes better than the previous mark (316.29) set in 2002-03. Selection of the 2004 NCAA field will take place tomorrow, April 26, with announcement of the participating teams coming at 2:00 p.m. (EST). The selections will be posted on www.ncaasports.com and should Notre Dame secure a bid, a release will be posted on www.und.com.
— ND —
TEAM RESULTS (54-hole totals): 1. Notre Dame 905 (302-293-310); 2. Miami 919 (306-308-305); 3. Boston College 934 (306-307-321); 4. Georgetown 952 (318-322-312).
ALL-BIG EAST TEAM: 1. Alison Walshe (Boston College) 220 (71-74-75); 2. Christy Larrimore (Georgetown) 221 (72-76-73); 3. Noriko Nakazaki (Notre Dame) 222 (75-70-77); 4.(tie) Katie Brophy (Notre Dame) 224 (75-75-74), Tina Miller (Miami) 224 (76-75-73); 6. Jazmin Cataldo (Miami) 226 (73-76-77); 7. Karen Lotta (Notre Dame) 229 (81-72-76).
NOTRE DAME INDIVIDUALS (of 20): 3. Noriko Nakazaki 222 (75-70-77); 4.(tie) Katie Brophy 224 (75-75-74); 7. Karen Lotta 229 (81-72-76); 8. Sarah Bassett 233 (74-76-83), 15. Suzie Hayes 245 (78-84-83).