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ND WOMEN’S GOLF: Irish hit the road for the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invite

Chris Khorey | Friday, October 14, 2005

After setting a school record with three straight rounds under 300, but only finishing fourth at the Shootout at the Legends, the Notre Dame women’s golf team will turn around and head south to Rogers, Ark. for the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational Sunday, hosted by the University of Arkansas.

Mid-October is the time of year when the golf schedule traditionally takes a southward turn, as weather conditions in northern states deteriorate.

“The number one thing I look for when making the schedule is a highly-ranked event and not so much the location, but obviously towards the late October and early November up here, it’s not as good of conditions up here and northern teams aren’t hosting tournaments, so we have to go down south,” Irish head coach Debby King said.

Venturing to the south also means competing against southern teams, who, due to weather advantages, are usually at the top of collegiate golf.

“On average, the southern schools usually dominate the Top 50, but the northern schools do pretty well,” King said. “Ohio State has been in the top 10 most of my career.”

The Irish are looking to capitalize on their strong showing at the shootout, where Jane Lee and Katie Brophy both shot career-low 220s.

Noriko Nagazaki, who finished first for the Irish in their first two tournaments this year, shot a relatively subpar 229.

King hopes the entire team can put it together in Arkansas this weekend.

“Just think if Noriko had been on her usual game, we could have broken 290 [at the Shootout]. She just didn’t have her A-game last week,” King said. “That’s the way golf is sometimes. If she’s back to form and everyone else is ready to go, this could be one of our better events.”

Lauren Gebauer and Lisa Maunu will also compete for the Irish this weekend. Suzie Hayes will compete as an individual.

King said scores as low as those from the Shootout may be hard to come by.

“This course is a little more difficult than the Legends,” King said. “There’s a lot more emphasis on placement.”

Still, King said the team is riding high after its record setting performance.

“Coming off our Legends performance where we had three rounds under 300, we’re feeling really confident,” King said. “We feel maybe that we’re not ranked as high as we should be, so we’re going to go there to maybe prove a point.”

The field for the tournament will be very competitive, lead by No. 3 Arkansas. All in all, the field will host four golfstat.com

Top 50 teams, including the Razorbacks, the No. 45 Irish, No. 38 Augusta State and No. 40 Nebraska.

King said it will be the toughest field the Irish have faced so far this year.

“This will be a tough field,” she said. “We’ve been warming up to this event. Arkansas is ranked No. 3 in the country. It will be tough to beat them on their home course.”