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Irish ready for Lady Boilermakers Invitational

Eric Retter | Friday, April 16, 2004

The only way for a team to reach its ultimate goal is to strive for greater and greater challenges. Notre Dame women’s golf coach Debby King certainly has a lot of faith in this philosophy, as her team gets set to play in the Lady Boilermaker Invitational at Purdue. In what has become a pattern this season, the Irish will once again face what King describes as “the toughest field yet.” That field includes the host Boilermakers, ranked in the top 50 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The tournament will last all day Saturday and Sunday, and will be played in the six-count-four format, where the top four scores out of six golfers gets counted towards the total team score. The Invitational marks the first time this spring that both senior co-captains Rebecca Rogers and Shannon Byrne have competed together in the same tournament. Joining them this weekend will be junior Karen Lotta, sophomores Katie Brophy and Sarah Bassett and freshman Noriko Nakazaki. At the Hoosier Invitational two weekends ago, Brophy made the best individual effort of the spring as she tied for second, citing King’s decision to increase focus on the mental aspects of the game.”Since it worked well at Indiana, we’ve practiced with the same kind of emphasis,” King said.The Irish will need their confidence as they move to uncharted territory this weekend, playing Purdue’s highly acclaimed Kampen Golf course for the first time since it opened in 1998. “We talked to the guy’s team, and they gave us a couple pointers,” King said. “I think we’ll be alright.” Notwithstanding the unfamiliarity, King relishes in undertaking this weekend’s challenge. “In women’s golf, tournaments are by invitation only, and we’re finally getting good enough to be invited to tournaments like this,” she said.Despite the team’s recent improvements and her own optimism, King remains realistic about her expectations for the weekend. King said that she and her team “haven’t really talked about a goal for placement” in the high profile event. “We’re just keeping our goal of trying to shoot 300 [in a round],” King said. By being such a difficult tournament, the Lady Boilermaker Invitational has the ability to help the Irish realize their ambitions of postseason play. “If you win a small event, you don’t get as many points as getting fifth in a big one,” King explained. “As tournaments get harder, we get more points for getting picked for NCAA regionals.” And that is the ultimate goal.