May 17, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team is set to begin competition in the NCAA Championship at the Landfall Traditions Golf Course in Bryan, Texas. This is the first time in program history that the team has competed in the NCAA Finals. The Irish begin the four-day tournament Wednesday with a 9:00 a.m. (ET) tee time.
The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team is set for their first team appearance in program history at the NCAA Finals Wednesday through Saturday at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas. Texas A&M is the host institution to the 24-team field. The Irish will tee off with the fifth-seeded teams from the East and West Regionals – California and Arizona – beginning at 9:00 a.m. (ET).
There are 24 teams that will tee-it-up at the NCAA Finals, the top eight teams out of each regional and the two lowest-scoring individuals who were not on an advancing team.
Notre Dame’s 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).
Daily recaps will be posted to und.com. Complete results and updated tee times and pairings will be posted on NCAA.com, where live hole-by-hole stats will also be available. Live results can be viewed on the Notre Dame women’s golf page on und.com.
The Traditions Club offers unexpected terrain along with the Turkey Creek and rolling hills, make it a test from the tee box. The 7,146-yard championship course laid out by Nicklaus Designs features stately hardwoods, many natural creeks and wetlands, and striking vistas of Kyle Field and the University skyline.
The generous fairways offer some relief, but the strategically- placed bunkers let you know where the Nicklaus’ intended your ball to land. Like many other Nicklaus Designs, Traditions provides golfers with a true championship gold experience. It’s golf the way it was intended to be played – a fair test of skill that is sure to challenge and delight all who play it.
Irish at the NCAAs
The 2011 spring season marks Notre Dame’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the Irish have now been selected to participate in four consecutive NCAA Regionals for the first time in program history.
Notre Dame Women’s Golf
In 2004 and 2005, the Irish received at-large berths to the Central Regional, finishing 17th and 18th, respectively. The 2004 event was contested at Illinois State’s University Golf Course in Normal, Ill., while the 2005 regional was played on Texas Tech’s Jerry S. Rawls Golf Course. Noriko Nakazaki led the Irish in those first two trips to the NCAAs, finishing tied for 36th in 2004 and then tying for 37th in 2005. Then in 2007, Nakazaki played individually in the NCAA Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich., becoming the program’s first individual entrant into NCAA postseason play. She shot an 11-over par 224 to finish tied for 18th, which marks the best individual NCAA finish in program history. The 11-over par mark is also a program best mark in NCAA play.
A year later, Notre Dame returned to NCAA play as a team by winning the 2008 BIG EAST Championship. The Irish went on to finish 16th at the 2008 NCAA Central Regional in Austin, Texas, which was played at the University of Texas Golf Club. In 2009, the Irish earned an at large bid to the NCAA Championship field and again played in the Central Regional. The Irish finished 16th for the second consecutive season. The Irish earned their third straight trip to the Central Regional for the first time in program history in 2010, finishing 17th with a three round score of 970 (+106).
This season, the Irish reached the Central Regional for the fourth straight year with an automatic bid after winning the BIG EAST Tournament. The Irish would not stop at the regional, however, qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. The squad finished fifth in the 24-team field with a program-best NCAA score of 901 (+37).
Notre Dame NCAA Bests
The top team round for Notre Dame in NCAA competition was a 10-over par 298, which was carded in the first and third rounds of the 2011 Central Regional. The round was part of a 54-hole total of 901 (+37), which ranks as the best three-round score in Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament history.
The top individual round from an Irish golfer in the NCAAs is a one-under par 71 from Nicole Zhang at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional. Zhang’s three-round 223 (+7) is the best 54-hole mark for a Fighting Irish competitor in NCAA play.
Notre Dame’s best finish in NCAA regional play came this season when the team finished fifth to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history.
Notre Dame women’s golf head coach Susan Holt was named the BIG EAST Women’s Golf Coach of the Year, while 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 were named to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Women’s Golf Team.
This season’s selection marked Park’s third selection to the All- BIG EAST team, while Huffer earned the honor for the third consecutive time during her career. If Huffer wins the honor again next year she will join 2010 graduate Annie Brophy and 2007 graduate Noriko Nakazaki as the only women’s golfers in program history to receive the honor four times.
Last Time Out
The University of Notre Dame women’s golf team made history during the 2011 Central Regional at the Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind., as the squad earned a fifth-place finish which secured a trip to the NCAA Finals for the first time. The team recorded a three-day total of 901 (+37) to qualify. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) carded a two-over par 74 in her final round for a three-round total of 223 (+7), which earned her an eighth-place finish.
Zhang registered a birdie on the seventh hole and recorded pars on the eighth and ninth holes to conclude the day.
Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) was the top finisher for the Irish and tied for 14th place overall during the third round as she registered an even-par 72 to conclude the tournament. Nhim finished the three-day tournament with a 224 (+8) and improved during each round. The freshman recorded a 77 on Thursday, followed by a 75 on Friday and a 72 on Saturday. She was one-over par through holes 11 to 17 before carding a birdie on 18 and then another on the second hole to finish at one-under. A bogey on the fourth hole placed Nhim at par, which she maintained through the final five holes.
Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) finished at two-over par in the final round to record a 226 (+10) and a tie for 22nd place in the contest. Huffer began the day with a birdie on the 10th hole and remained even through the 14th hole when she bogeyed. The junior remained even through the back nine, but with bogey scores on the fourth and sixth holes she placed a two-over par score.
Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep. Academy) carded a 78 (+6) in the third round, which made her three-round score 234 (+18) and a tie for 71st. Like Huffer, Park also recorded a birdie on the 10th hole to begin the day, but went through the back nine at two-over par and concluded the back nine at four-over par.
Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shore- ham-Wading) carded an 80 (+8) Saturday for a three-day total of 234 (+15) and a tie for 50th. The veteran player remained even through the initial first three holes, but completed the back nine at five-over par and with three additional bogeys on the front nine, the senior finished with the eight-over par 80.