Head coach Susan Holt and senior captain Becca Huffer lead the Irish into their first tournament of the spring this weekend - the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate - at Hilton Head, S.C.

Women's Golf Opens The Spring Schedule In South Carolina

March 1, 2012

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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BACK IN ACTION: The Notre Dame women’s golf team finally gets outside to play rounds of golf this weekend as they open the spring schedule at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Tournament at the Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C., March 2 through 4. The tournament is hosted by the University of South Carolina and features plenty of talent to welcome Coach Susan Holt and her squad back to the tees and greens of the collegiate golf scene. The Irish last participated in a competitive event when the closed the fall on Oct. 30 at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. At the Tradition, they tied for 10th in the 18-team field along with Wake Forest and Florida State. The 54-hole event will be played at the challenging Pete Dye-designed, par-71, 6,160-yard course at Long Cove. The course has been on Golf Digest’s Top 100 list for 30 years. Talk about jumping right into the fire, this weekend will give the Irish women quite a challenge as the 15-team tournament will include 14 ranked teams, including second-ranked Alabama, eighth-ranked Vanderbilt and 10th-ranked Georgia.

TOURNAMENT FACTS: Name: Darius Rucker Intercollegiate (hosted by the University of South Carolina

Course: Long Cove Golf Club (par 71, 6,160 yards) – Pete Dye designed course at Hilton Head, S.C.

Field: 15 teams (2012 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings as of Feb. 27, 2012): Alabama (2), Vanderbilt (8), Georgia (10), North Carolina (11), Tennessee (15), Texas (19), Virginia (26), South Carolina (30), Arkansas (36), TCU (38), Central Florida (42), Wake Forest (46), Notre Dame (52), Coastal Carolina (63) and South Carolina-Beaufort.

TOURNAMENT UPDATES: Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. Results also will be available on the University of South Carolina website (www.gamecocksonline.com) each day. Round-by-round recaps and everything you need to know about Notre Dame women’s golf will be available at UND.com.

THE COURSE: The tournament will be played on the challenging par-71, 6,160-yard course at Long Cove. Pete Dye, who is one of the most well known course architects in the world, designed Long Cove, which has been on Golf Digest’s Top 100 list for 30 years. Long Cove Club by Pete Dye has a long history for holding top amateur events for both men and women, including two USGA Mid-Amateurs, The Canon Cup, two Rolex AJGA Championships and the South Carolina Amateur.

WEATHER OUTLOOK: The weather forecast for Hilton Head and the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Golf Club looks like this: Friday, March 2 – Isolated thundershowers with a high of 71 degrees and a 30% chance of rain. Saturday, March 3 – Scattered thundershowers with a high of 70 degrees. 60% chance of rain with the potential for severe thunderstorms. Sunday, March 4 – 40% chance of showers and a high of 61 degrees.

DARIUS RUCKER INTERCOLLEGIATE: This is the first-ever Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Tournament that will be hosted by Darius Rucker, the noted singer and songwriter along with the University of South Carolina and Long Cove Golf Club through 2016. Rucker, who is a South Carolina graduate, is currently an award-winning country artist. He is also well known for his time as the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish. He will be doing a concert on Thursday, March 1 for tournament participants, coaches, sponsors and Long Cove Club members at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.

IRISH LINEUP: Notre Dame’s five-person lineup includes: Becca Huffer (Sr., Denver, Colo.), Kristina Nhim (So., Cypress, Calif.), Kelli Oride (Fr., Lihue, Hawaii), Ashley Armstrong (Fr., Flossmoor, Ill.) and Katie Allare (Sr., Phoenix, Ariz.), Huffer is a three time all-BIG EAST selection who led Notre Dame in the fall with a 75.16 average. She was followed by Oride who saw her first collegiate action, playing in all four tournaments with a 76.92 average for 12 rounds. Armstrong, another freshman, was right behind Oride with a 77.33 average for 12 rounds. Nhim, was fourth on the squad with a 78.42 mark and Allare rounded out the group with a 79.82 average.

TEE TIMES: Tee times for the Notre Dame women’s golf team have been announced for the opening round on Friday, March 2 at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. The Irish will start on the first hole along with golfers from Alabama and Wake Forest. Senior Katie Allare starts for the Irish at 9:15 a.m. She will be followed by freshman Ashley Armstrong at 9:24 with fellow freshman Kelli Oride teeing off at 9:33. Sophomore Kristina Nhim gets her spring started at 9:42 and senior captain Becca Huffer rounds out the Irish contingent at 9:51 a.m.

THE COACH: Susan Holt is in her sixth season as the women’s golf coach at Notre Dame and her 22nd as a Division I head coach. She also served as head coach at Purdue University (1990-93) and the University of South Florida (1993-2006). In her first five seasons at Notre Dame, the Irish have won a pair of BIG EAST titles (2008 and 2011), made four NCAA regional appearances (2008, `09, `10, 11) and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time last May (2011) where they finished 22nd overall. A two-time BIG EAST coach of the year (2008, 2011), Holt’s teams have turned in the top four team averages during her tenure. In 2010-11, the Irish turned in four, first-place finishes, including the 2011 BIG EAST championship. During the 2011-12 fall schedule, Holt’s tea had a tie for ninth at the Golfweek Conference Challege at Vail, Colo., an 18th-place finish at the Tar Heel Invitational, a second at the Hoosier Fall Invitational at Crooked Stick Golf Club and a tie for 10th at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C.

SPRING SCHEDULE: Here is the remainder of the Notre Dame women’s golf schedule for the spring of 2012.

March 9-12         at LSU Tiger Classic (at University Club of Baton Rouge - Baton Rouge, La.)March 16-18        at Clover Cup (at Longbow Golf Club - Mesa, Ariz.)March 30- April 1  at Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic (at University Golf Club - Athens, Ga.)April 22-24        at BIG EAST Championship (at Reunion Resort and Golf Club - Orlando, Fla.)May 10-12          at NCAA Regionals (at TBA)May 23-25          at NCAA Championship (at Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club - Franklin, Tenn.)

THE CAPTAIN: Senior Becca Huffer will serve as the team’s captain for the 2011-12 season. A three-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer is coming off a strong fall schedule that saw her lead the Irish with a 75.16 average will winning her first collegiate tournament – the Hoosier Fall Invitational (Oct. 17-18) with a four-over par, 54-hole total of 220. She also had a 10th-place finish at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., to close the fall with an 11-over par total of 227. As a junior in 2010-11, she turned in her best season at Notre Dame with four, top-10 finishes, including a then career-best second-place finish at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate with a five-under par 211 in leading the Irish to a tournament win. For her junior campaign, Huffer’s 74.97 stroke average was second on the team and the second lowest of her career. In 38 career tournaments, covering 112 rounds, the industrial design major owns a 75.14 career stroke average that is second best in the program’s history. During her Notre Dame golf career, Huffer has helped the Irish to a BIG EAST Championship in 2011 and two second-place finishes in 2009 and 2010. The 2009 BIG EAST rookie of the year, she had her best conference finish last season as she finished fourth overall with a seven-over par 223. Huffer has participated in three NCAA Regionals and in 2011 helped Notre Dame to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship. As a junior in 2010-11, Huffer helped Notre Dame to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships as the team finished fifth at the Central Regional and then 22nd in the NCAA Championships in Bryan, Tex. There, she was Notre Dame’s top finisher with a 72-hole total of eight-over par, 296.

WINNING: Becca Huffer’s tournament win at the Hoosier Fall Invitational marked the first time an Irish women’s golfer had won an individual tournament title since Nicole Zhang won at the Mary Fossum Invitational, Sept. 25-26, 2010. For Huffer, the finish was her best with the previous being a second-place finish at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate, March 21-22, 2011.

THE FRESHMEN: Freshmen Ashley Armstrong and Kelli Oride begin their first seasons with the Irish but are no strangers to highly competitive golf. The duo brings impressive credentials to the Irish lineup. Armstrong is a two-time HP Scholastic Junior All-American and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur this past summer. A top-five finisher in the Illinois Class AA golf championship in all four of her seasons at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, she was third in her senior season (2010). A four-time team MVP, Armstrong capped her summer of 2011 by winning the Women’s Western Amateur Tournament in July. Oride is a three-time state medalist and a two-time runner-up from Hawaii. She qualified as an alternate for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open Tournament. Oride was ranked 20th in Golfweek’s class of 2011 rankings while Armstrong was ranked 41st.

INCOMING RECRUITS: Notre Dame women’s golf head coach Susan Holt has announced the signing of two student-athletes to national letters-of-intent to attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 2012. Joining the Irish roster next fall are Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas) and Lindsey Weaver (Scottsdale, Ariz.). In making the announcement, Holt said, “We are very excited about adding Talia and Lindsey to our lineup for the next four years. This is the top class we’ve ever recruited and Lindsey is the highest rated individual golfer we’ve had decide to attend Notre Dame. They are both very talented golfers and will have an impact on the program very early.”

Talia Campbell is in her senior season at Ursuline Academy of Dallas College Prep where she has helped lead her school to three consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 5A state titles, winning the individual title in 2010 and 2011. Campbell is a three-time all-state selection and in the national junior rankings was ranked 29th by the Junior Golf Scoreboard that ranks all tournaments played, 15th in the Junior Golfweek rankings and 32nd in the Polo golf rankings. For the 2011 season, Campbell has a 75.00 average for 12 rounds in 2011 AJGA tournaments. She was selected as a 2011 Hewlett Packard AJGA Scholastic All-American, an honor that represents her strengths in the classroom and on the golf course, and was an honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American in 2011.

Lindsey Weaver is in her final year of high school at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Ariz., and brings impressive credentials to Notre Dame. At her signing, Weaver was ranked third nationally in the Junior Golf Scoreboard, seventh in the Golfweek Junior Golf rankings and 20th in the Polo golf rankings. In eight AJGA tournaments this past season she had seven top-10 finishes with five top fives and two tournament championships. Her titles included winning the 2011 Stonehenge Junior Open in Winona Lake, Ind., last August with a nine-under par 204. In July, she went wire-to-wire to win the MacArthur Towel and Sports Future Legends with a three-under par 210. In 24 rounds this season, she owns a 70.88 stroke average in AJGA Tournaments. Weaver was selected as a 2011 Hewlett Packard AJGA Scholastic All-American and was a second team Rolex Junior All-American to cap her 2010-11 season. In September, she also was selected to the Ping Junior Solheim Cup team where she played a key role in helping the United States retain the Cup. In opening day action, Weaver lost in foursomes and then won her fourball match. On the final day, in the singles, she clinched the United States’ 12th point with a 2 and 1 win over England’s Charley Hull. Weaver has played junior golf for the last six years and has her name throughout the AJGA record book. She is tied for 14th all-time with seven career wins and is tied for first for most years with a win (6) and consecutive years with a win (6). Those records tie her with current pros Vicki Goetze and Grace Park. The additions of Campbell and Weaver mark the fifth consecutive highly touted recruiting class that Holt and assistant Kyle Lynne Veltri have brought to Notre Dame.

IN THE CLASSROOM: The Notre Dame women’s golf program continues to have success both on the golf course and in the classroom during the 2011-12 season. After setting a Notre Dame-best mark of 3.638 during the spring semester of 2010, the women’s golfers went a step further in the fall of 2011, recording an even better 3.655 grade-point average as a team, the best team grade-point average for a semester by any squad since the University began keeping those records. Since 2006, the women’s golf team has a 3.408 team grade-point average. In 11 previous semesters, the team has recorded just one semester below a 3.00 and since the spring of 2009, the semester grade point has gone from 3.406 to 3.655.

ONE OF THE BEST: Golfweek Magazine has ranked the Notre Dame women’s golf team’s home course – The Warren Golf Course – as one of the top 15 college golf courses in the nation. To qualify for the Golfweek’s Best Campus Courses list, a course must be part of a school’s recreational life in terms of preferential access for students, faculty and alumni. Last year, Golfweek ranked the Warren Golf Course as the 14th-best college golf course. This year the home course of the Irish moved up two notches to 12th, passing the likes of the University of Michigan Golf Course and Duke University Golf Course. Co-designed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran Ben Crenshaw, the Warren Golf Course opened on May 1, 2000 and has played host to three U.S. Amateur Championship qualifiers, the `05 and `10 men’s NCAA Central Regional, the `11 women’s NCAA Central Regional, three Western Amateur Championship qualifiers, five BIG EAST Conference Men’s Championships and three BIG EAST Women’s Championships.

NEXT FOR THE IRISH: The Irish continue a busy month of March next weekend, March 9-12, as they participate in the LSU Tiger Classic at the University Club of Baton Rouge in Baton Rouge, La.