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Women’s Golf: Team ends conference tourney 3rd

Fran Tolan | Wednesday, April 26, 2006

After struggling in the second round Monday, Notre Dame rallied to shoot a 6-over-par 294 Tuesday – tying the best team round of the tournament – to finish tied for third place at the Big East Championships in Dade City, Fla.

Irish senior co-captain Katie Brophy, freshman Lisa Maunu and junior Noriko Nakazaki each posted a 1-under-par 71 in the third and final round to lead the charge for the Irish.

Notre Dame posted a 16-over-par team score of 304 in the first round but finished the day in fourth place and well out of contention following a second-round 316 (28-over).

“[The second-round performance] was kind of unfortunate,” Brophy said. “We shot ourselves out of the tournament.”

Nagasaki’s 71 finished a solid week for the junior, who finished second in the individual competition.

In its first year in the Big East, Louisville captured the conference title.

The Cardinals were paced by the event’s individual winner Adrienne White, who shot an even-par 216 (74-69-73), just four shots ahead of Nakazaki (220, 71-78-71).

Nakazaki and teammate Brophy, who finished in seventh place with a 227 (77-79-71), both earned All-Big East individual honors for the third time.

Notre Dame rebounded behind the steady play of all its top-three players Tuesday to capture the third-place tie. Seniors Lauren Gebauer and Suzie Hayes rounded out the Irish lineup with third-round 81s.

“We’re happy with the way we finished,” Brophy said.

The team, however, failed to live up to its pre-tournament No. 1 seed.

“We’re disappointed,” Irish coach Debby King said. “We felt like we should win it, but we had one decent round, one really bad round and one outstanding round.

“It just wasn’t enough.”

Notre Dame is unsure if it will compete again this season. The Irish will now wait to see if they receive an at-large berth to one of three NCAA women’s golf championship regional tournaments. The tournament field will be announced Monday, May 1.

King said that her team’s strong play in the final round sent a message to the tournament committee.

“I feel like they’ll look pretty hard at that 294,” she said. “[In the third round], we did what we had to do to still have a shot at the NCAA regionals.”