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ND WOMEN’S GOLF: Squad returns to action in Indiana

Chris Khorey | Friday, April 1, 2005

Three weeks after its victory in the St. Croix Collegiate Invitational in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Notre Dame women’s golf team returns to action this weekend in a much cooler climate in Bloomington, Ind., home of the Indiana Invitational.The competition will mark the first northern tournament for the Irish since the weather last permitted for outdoor competition in early October, when the team participated in the Shoot Out at the Legends in Franklin, Ind.Junior Suzie Hayes said the three-week layoff is common at this point in the season.”[Spring break] is a great time to get practice in the heat and the sun, but then we usually have a break because of the weather,” she said. “The next three tournaments are up north.”The Irish did their best to stay sharp during the off weeks, taking a trip to Rochester, Ind. last weekend to practice away from the Warren and Notre Dame golf courses.”We’ve been working hard on our games,” Hayes said. “We’ve been outside most of the last three weeks.”Taking to the links for the Irish will be sophomores Stacy Brown and Noriko Nakazaki, juniors Katie Brophy, Sarah Bassett and Hayes and senior Karen Lotta.Brophy leads the team with a 75.83 stroke average but shot a 75-82-79 in three rounds at St. Croix. Brown paced the Irish in the Virgin Islands with 75-79-74 scores.The Irish are a combined 23-0 against opponents they will face in Bloomington.Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 45 by golfstat.com. Challenging the Irish will be No. 70 Wisconsin, No. 84 Minnesota and No. 99 Iowa, among 14 other teams.Rounding out the field will be Indiana, Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Grand Valley, Illinois, Indianapolis, Iowa, IPFW, Marshall, Minnesota, Ohio, St. John’s, Toledo, Wisconsin and Xavier.The Hoosiers will also enter six individual competitors who will not count toward the team’s score. Despite the mediocre competition, Hayes said the team is not overconfident.”We know we want to win, but we’re not going out there saying ‘oh, this is an easy tournament,'” she said. “We just want to play well and lower our scoring averages.”The forecast for Saturday is sunny and 45 degrees, much cooler than St. Croix but dry and playable.”We’re used to the conditions,” Hayes said. “This tournament always seems to have cold weather. It won’t affect us too much.” We’re prepared well enough so we should be fine.”