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Women’s Golf: Hayes leads Irish clubs in Florida tournament

Tim Kaiser | Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Irish opened their spring season this week, finishing 11th out of 14 teams in the Central District Classic Tuesday in Parrish, Fla.

Using a five-person team of Suzie Hayes, Noriko Nakazaki, Lauren Gebauer, Lisa Maunu, and Katie Brophy, Notre Dame shot a 932 (62-over-par) for the two-day, three-round tournament.

The Irish began the tournament well, firing a 305 in the first round Monday at the 6,099-yard River Wilderness Golf Club. A difficult 318 in Monday’s afternoon round placed the team in 11th heading into the final round. There, a 309 kept the Irish in that spot.

“Well, the first round, 305, we felt pretty good about,” Irish coach Debby King said. “We were extremely disappointed with the second round, and the third round was just mediocre – one good round out of three.”

Senior co-captain Suzie Hayes paced the Irish with a personal record nine-over 225 for the tournament. She began the event with a blistering one-over 73 and fired a three-over 75 to finish in a tie for ninth among all golfers.

“Suzie Hayes had her career-best game in this tournament,” King said. “That’s really exciting. For her, in the second semester of her senior year, to have a personal best is really exciting.”

Lacey Jones of Southern Methodist, who shot a one-under 215, took the individual title for third-place SMU.

The Irish finished 36 shots behind Baylor, who came in first with an 896. Ohio State wrapped up second place with a 907, just one stroke ahead of the Mustangs.

This was the first tournament of the spring for the Irish, who finished the fall season Nov. 8 with a second place finish in the Lady Jaguar Invitational in Augusta, Ga. After finishing in the top four in five of six events, and after a winter spent training inside, the team is still tightening up its game, hoping to be ready for the Big East Championship in April and NCAAs in May and June.

Despite the “mediocre” finish, King was happy with what she saw.

“I think they struck the ball really well,” King said of her team’s performance. “Our golf swings looked really good. We [just] need to do some fine tuning on our short game and chipping.”

The Irish will compete next in The “Mo” Morial in Bryan, Texas, a three-day tournament beginning March 10.