March 11, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team stands in 15th place out of 23 teams, following first-day action of the 13th annual Northern Illinois Snowbird Intercollegiate, at Pebblecreek Country Club.

Irish junior Beth Cooper is one of seven individuals tied for fourth place in the huge 131-player field, after firing a four-over 76 on the par-72, 5,940-yard course (equaling the third-best round of her Notre Dame career).

Notre Dame heads into Friday’s final round trailing Kent and Northern Illinois by three strokes each while sitting four shots behind the University of Ohio and five behind Southwest Missouri.

Arkansas State shot a first-round 312 to claim a one-shot lead in the team competition over Penn State, followed by Alabama Birmingham (314) and Florida Southern (317).

Penn State’s Laura Hammond stands first among individuals after an opening-round 71, followed by Leigh Ann Jones of Arkansas State (73) and Shanna Nagy of Florida Southern (75).

A strong final round could land Cooper her best career finish, as she tied for 13th at the Illinois Classic in the spring of 1997.

Notre Dame’s first-round frustrations included seeing two of its individuals entrantsjuniopr Brigid Fisher and sophomore Shane Smithturn in solid scores (both 82) while the other members of the starting five struggled. Junior captain Andrea Klee and sophomore Mary Klein carded 84s, followed among the starters by sophomores Becca Schloss (87) and Danielle Villarosa (89).

Notre Dame’s third individual entrant, freshman Kristin McMurtrie, posted an opening-round 85 (individual entrants do not factor in the play-five, count-four format).

TEAM STANDINGS (18 of 36 holes): 1. Arkansas State 312; 2. Penn State 313; 3. Alabama-Birmingham 314; 4. Florida Southern 317; Methodist 317; Wisconsin 317; 7. Toledo 318; 8. Oral Roberts 321; 9. Longwood 322; 10. Troy State 324; 11. Southwest Missouri 326; 12. Ohio 327; 13. Kent 328; Northern Illinois 328; 15. Notre Dame 331; 16. Wyoming 340; 17. Creighton 357; 18. Bowling Green 365; 19. Gardner-Webb 367; 20. Daytona Beach CC; 21. Illinois Wesleyan 395; 22. Carthage 401; 23. Evansville 405.

TOP INDIVIDUALS (of 131): 1. Laura Hammond (PSU) 71; 2. Leign Ann Jones (ASU) 73; 3. Shanna Nagy (FSU) 75; 4. Jennifer McGuigan (UAB) 76; Susan Seabrook (UAB) 76; Vicki Matkovich (LC) 76; Beth Cooper (ND) 76; Katie Howard (SMSU) 76; Jessica Popiel (TOL) 76; Alison Woodward (TSU) 76.

OTHER NOTRE DAME SCORES: Brigid Fisher (indiv.) 82, Shane Smith (indiv.) 82, Andrea Klee 84, Mary Klein 84, Kristin McMurtrie (indiv.) 85, Becca Schloss 87, Danielle Villarosa 89.