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ND WOMEN’S GOLF: Nakazaki leads the way to victory at Indiana

Chris Khorey | Monday, April 4, 2005

The Irish won their second tournament in a row this past weekend at the Indiana Invitational in Bloomington, besting an 18-team field in the weather-shortened tournament at Indiana University Golf Club.Windy conditions and a wet course forced tournament officials to cut the competition from 54 holes to 36.Irish sophomore Noriko Nakazaki was the event’s individual champion, shooting a 2-over par 146, beating out Toledo’s Natalie Storck by one stroke. The win represented the third time the Irish have taken both the individual and team titles at a tournament. It was also the first individual victory of Nakazaki’s collegiate career.”That’s a big step for her mentally,” Irish head coach Debby King said. “Getting her first collegiate win is a big deal.”Despite the win, the weekend was not perfect for the Irish, who watched senior co-captain Suzie Hayes withdraw from the first round with a hand injury.”She came up to me during the first round,” King said of Hayes. “Her left hand had swelled up and she couldn’t grip the club.”Hayes returned to action Sunday and shot a 78. She is expected to be able to compete next week in the Lady Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, although she might have to rest during the week.”She’s just going to have to doctor it a little bit,” King said.Notre Dame was a heavy favorite going into the tournament, but King said the win was still valuable heading into tougher competition in the weeks to come.”You still have to stay tough mentally,” she said. “I was proud that we went out and proved why we were the favorite. Purdue and Ohio State are very tough fields. We’ll need the experience.”The Irish shot a 20-over-par 620 as a team to beat out second place Grand Valley State by nine strokes. Scoring for the Irish were junior Katie Brophy, who shot a par 154, good enough for third place overall; senior Karen Lotta, who finished 11th with a 157; sophomore Stacy Brown, who shot a 163; and junior Sarah Bassett, who finished with 173.Grand Valley State placed three golfers in the top 10, but their leader, Merissa Sneller, finished one shot behind Brophy and nine shots behind Nakazaki.Minnesota shot a 634 to place third, one shot ahead of fourth place Ohio. Toledo, led by Storck, finished tied with Marshall for fifth. Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas-Little Rock, Indiana, St. John’s, Xavier, Ferris State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Indianapolis and IPFW rounded out the field.