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ND Women’s Golf: Irish can’t protect blue grass turf, finish second

Chris Hine | Monday, September 25, 2006

Notre Dame failed to defend its title this weekend, squandering a 36-hole lead to finish second to Cincinnati in the Notre Dame Invitational at Warren Golf Course.

The Irish led by one stroke over Illinois State after two rounds of play on Saturday – shooting consecutive rounds of 306 at the par-72 course – but the team faltered on Sunday, firing a 313 to end up with a 925 (+61) for the tournament. Cincinnati (310-306-303, +56) steadily improved over the three rounds of play, besting the Irish and the other 12 teams on the course.

“We did not deserve to win,” sophomore Lisa Maunu said. “We need to make stronger finishes. A couple of us were playing well into the last five holes but did not finish strong. We need to hit more greens in regulation as well.”

Maunu had the low round for the Irish Sunday with a three-over 75 and finished tied for 11th in the tournament.

This weekend also marked the debut of new head coach Susan Holt, who joined the Irish this week after leaving South Florida.

“I was disappointed. We should have played a lot better,” she said. “It’s tough when you don’t play well and you know you can do better. We need a lot of work inside of 100 yards. It is the fastest way to get our scores down.”

The teams were able to get all 54 holes completed despite inclement weather.

“You try not to let the weather affect you, but deep down inside it gets to you. It’s more annoying than anything,” Maunu said.

Holt agreed, though she added that every team had to overcome the same challenge with the weather.

Leading the way for the Irish was senior Noriko Nakazaki, who finished tied for eighth overall (74-76-80, +14). She and fellow senior Stacy Brown (79-79-85, +27), who tied for 38th, competed in their final tournament at the Warren Golf Course.

“I had a great experience here. The golf course looks different each time I play it,” Nakazaki said. “I was sad I could not finish stronger, but I learned a lot about my game and my weaknesses from this course.”

Freshman Kristin Wetzel tied Maunu’s score and finished in a tie for 11th. Her second round score of even par 72 was the low round for Notre Dame.

“She’s a solid player,” Holt said. “She didn’t have that great of a first round. She triple bogeyed her last hole that round and then had to come out again in round two and play that as her first hole. She made a great recovery.”

Freshman Annie Brophy (77-79-79) tied for 19th.

Hillery Wilson of Cincinnati took the individual title with a two-over 218, including a second round 69, the low round of the tournament.

Up next on the starter’s sheet for Notre Dame is the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational October 2-3 in Lawrence, Kan.