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ND WOMEN’S GOLF: Irish women look for tourney trifecta

Kevin Brennan | Friday, April 22, 2005

The Irish will look to capture their third straight Big East Championship this weekend at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.

The tournament, which kicks off Saturday morning, is in a “five count four” format. Each of the four participating teams sends five golfers, and the top four individual scores for each team in each round combine to form the team’s total for the round.

Senior Karen Lotta, juniors Katie Brophy and Suzie Hayes, sophomore Noriko Nakazaki, and freshman Jane Lee will tee it up for the top-seeded Irish.

Third-seeded Georgetown and fourth-seeded Boston College will try to stand in the way of Notre Dame’s third consecutive title. The biggest challenge for the Irish should come from second-seeded St. Johns, though.

“St. John’s will be our closest competition,” Notre Dame head coach Debby King said. “They have really improved this year.”

Golfstat.com ranks St. John’s 125th nationally, while the Irish are rated 45th overall. The two teams met once earlier this season at the Indiana Invitational on April 2-3. The Irish defeated the Red Storm by 26 strokes en route to capturing the tournament championship.

The Big East Championship does not give Notre Dame a chance to significantly improve its chances at landing its second straight at large bid to the NCAA Central Regional Championship.

Since the three other tournament participants are all from the Eastern Region, the Irish will not be able to outplay any Central Region foes.

“It’s unfortunate for us that women’s golf has to be in the Big East Conference,” King said. “We don’t have a choice there. We just have to try to keep our scoring averages low.”

Irish players have practiced hard all week in pursuit of this goal, working on the fundamentals of their games. King stressed that the team simply needs to continue doing the things that led to two tournament championships this spring.

“Obviously, what we are doing is working. That’s what got us here,” King said. “We are just working on all types of the game – the swing, chip, pitch and especially putting.”

The first round will kick off Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at the Warren Golf Course.

By Kevin Brennan – kbrenna4@nd.edu