April 14, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team has its sights set on a fourth conference title as the Irish begin the 2011 BIG EAST Championship on Sunday, April 18, at the Island Course of the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Teams are paired up on a blind draw basis with Notre Dame as the No. 2 seed. The remaining seeds are as follows: Seton Hall is No. 1, Georgetown is No. 3, USF is No. 4, Rutgers is No.5, Cincinnati is No. 6, Louisville is No. 7 and St. John’s is No. 8. The Irish are set to tee it up with Seton Hall and Georgetown, beginning at 9:40 a.m. (ET) Sunday. The pairing in the remaining 36 holes depends on the place of the team.
The three-day tournament consists of three 18-hole rounds, beginning on Sunday and continuing through Monday. Each team’s lineup includes five golfers, with the best four scores in each round counting toward the team score for that day. Play begins at 8:00 a.m. (ET) each day.
Notre Dame’s plausible lineup includes senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River), senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy), junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) and freshmen Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) and Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress).
Irish At The Championship
Daily recaps will be posted to und.com, while complete results and updated tee times can be found at bigeast.org. Live results of the tournament will be available through und.com.
The 2011 BIG EAST Championship will be held on the Island Course at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla. This will be the second annual championship contest on the course.
BIG EAST History
Notre Dame won its first BIG EAST Championship title in 2003 when the Irish bested runner-up Miami by 44 strokes. Then repeated the honor with another win over Miami in 2004. In 2005, St. John’s claimed the crown over Georgetown in the tournament that was shortened from 54 holes to 18 holes due to poor weather conditions. Louisville grabbed first-place finishes in 2006 and 2007. In `07 the Cardinals defeated the Irish by one shot. Notre Dame picked up its third conference title in 2008 when the Irish defeated runner-up Louisville. The Cardinals reclaimed the crown in 2009 over USF.
Notre Dame At The 2010 Championship
Annie Brophy was the top Fighting Irish individual at the conference contest, tying for second place at 10-over par 226 (80-72-74) to earn a place on the all-BIG EAST team for the fourth time during her Irish career. The Irish notched a third-place finish in the seven-team field with a three-round score of 72-over par 936 (320-313-303).
From 2003-08, earning all-BIG EAST status was based on finishing in the top-10 at the conference’s championship event. Beginning in the 2008-09 season, the 10-member all-BIG EAST team is voted on by the coaches, who submit a ballot with five nominees that are ranked in order after the BIG EAST Championship. Additionally, the coaches vote on the Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year, all of which are released at the end of April. All told, the Irish have combined for 24 all-BIG EAST honors since 2003. Noriko Nakazaki, a 2007 Notre Dame graduate, and Brophy are the program record holders with four all-conference accolades.
BIG EAST Medalists
All-time, the Irish boast four BIG EAST medalists in Katie Brophy, Karen Lotta, Annie Brophy and Lisa Maunu. Katie Brophy tied for first as a freshman at the 2003 tournament, while Lotta did the same at the 2005 event during her senior campaign. In 2008, Annie Brophy, the younger sister of Katie, captured the title as a sophomore and Maunu earned the win in 2009 as a senior.
Last Time Out
Notre Dame improved each round at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga., as the Irish posted a 284 in the final 18 holes of the tournament Sunday. Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) improved her third round by four strokes as the freshman recorded a 71 (-1) for a three-round total of 222 (+8) and a 15th-place finish.
Huffer Earns League Honors
Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) was named the BIG EAST Women’s Golfer of the Week for the week concluding March 29, as announced by the conference office. Huffer earned the honor after claiming second place of 78 competitors at the John Kirk/Intercollegiate Invitational at Eagle’s Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Ga. The junior posted a 70, 71 and 70 in the 54-hole tournament to log her a career-best 211 (-5).Huffer finished just one stroke behind first-place finisher Daytona State’s Mitsuki Katahira. Notre Dame, led by Huffer, claimed the tournament crown and recorded an 888 (+24). The junior’s second-place finish marked her highest individual finish this season.
The 2009 Championship Recap
The Notre Dame women’s golf team totaled a three-round score of 72-over par 936 (320-313-303) on the Innisbrook Resort/Island Course (par 72/6,205 yards) in Palm Harbor, Fla.
The Fighting Irish carded the lowest final-round score on Tuesday with a 303 (+15) and ended the three-day event 16 strokes back of tournament champion Louisville. South Florida finished second at 928 (+64), eight shots ahead of Notre Dame.
Annie Brophy was the top Fighting Irish individual at this year’s conference tournament, tying for second place at 10-over par 226 (80-72-74), six shots behind BIG EAST medalist Sara-Maude Juneau of Louisville. Brophy played the front nine at two-over par and followed with an even par back nine. She notched a birdie on the par-five 11th hole. With her tie for second, Brophy made a strong case to be voted onto the All-BIG EAST team for the fourth time in her Irish career. She would join Noriko Nakazaki as just the second player in program history to earn the distinction in all four seasons if she is named to the 2010 All-BIG EAST team.
Becca Huffer turned in a final round three-over par 75 to finish in a tie for seventh. Her final round was a tale of two nines, as she was four-over par on the day at the turn but the sophomore rallied to card a one-under par back nine. In fact, she played her final 11 holes of the tournament at one-under par.
Katie Allare and Katie Conway turned in five-over par 77’s to round out final round scoring for the Irish. Allare finished tied for 15th in her first career team tournament start. Her final round was highlighted by a birdie at the par-five 15th. Conway had 11 pars and a birdie on the day and finished tied for 25th.
So-Hyun Park carded an 84 and finished tied with Conway in 25th-place.
Irish Fight Cancer On The Course
The team plans to designate a round of golf during the BIG EAST Championship to support the national breast cancer initiative. The team will wear pink hair extensions, in addition to pink Notre Dame gear. The pink extensions are being purchased at the St. Baldrick’s Day event, which raises awareness of pediatric cancer.