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ND WOMEN’S GOLF: Nakazaki sets school record

Chris Khorey | Monday, September 26, 2005

As the rain poured and the wind blew during the third round at the Indiana University Championship Golf Course in Bloomington, Ind., Noriko Nakazaki broke a school record.

The junior shot a one-under 215, the lowest three-round score in school history, over three rounds to place third and lead the Irish to a fourth place finish at the Lady Northern Invitational.

“There were times when the rain was going sideways today,” Irish coach Debby King said of the inclement conditions. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of my team. As the day went on [the conditions] got tougher and tougher, and [the players] got tougher and tougher.”

Attended by mostly Big Ten schools, the tournament featured stiff competition. Purdue took first place with a team score of 867. Big Ten powers Michigan and Northwestern finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

“We’re very satisfied [with this performance],” King said. “It’s a big deal for us to beat Michigan and Northwestern. We’re a Central Region team, and so are they, so we should meet them again.”

Nakazaki exploded out of the gate in the first round Saturday, shooting a two-under-par 70. She cooled off slightly in the second round later that day, carding a two-over-par 74. She finished up with a 71 despite the rain Sunday to end up under par and with a new Notre Dame record.

“She’s really becoming a star,” King said of Nakazaki. “She works really hard. Plus, she’s developed patience, and her confidence level has finally caught up to her talent.”

The weather Sunday was brutal, with heavy rain and driving winds. Still, scores stayed relatively low, with Nakazaki and fourth-place finisher Myrte Eikenaar of Purdue both shooting under par.

The Irish sent seven golfers to the tournament, of whom six competed in the team tournament. Stacy Brown played as an individual, carding a 237 (80-77-80), good enough for 51st place.

The top-four scorers for each team counted toward the team score. The Irish, who shot a 903 (303-296-304), were led by Nakazaki, Lauren Gebauer, who shot a personal best 222 (75-73-74) and finished eleventh, Katie Brophy, who shot a 231 (78-75-78) and finished 31st, and Jane Lee, who shot a 237 (81-74-82).

Rounding out the field for the Irish were Lisa Maunu, who shot a 240 (80-77-80), and Suzie Hayes, who shot a 245 (83-80-82).

Michigan State shot an 887 to take second to Purdue, followed by Penn State and the Irish. Indiana finished fifth.Illinois, Illinois State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota rounded out the twelve-team field.

“Penn State was a real surprise,” King said. “They were pre-season ranked 100th in the country [by golfstat.com]. They must have gotten some real good freshmen.”