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ND Women’s Golf: Irish face tough field in first spring tourney

Michael Blasco | Friday, February 15, 2008

After a three-month break in competitive play, No. 20 Notre Dame tees off the second half of its season at the Central District Invitational tournament in Parrish, Fla., on Monday.

Held at the River Wilderness Golf Club and hosted by Michigan State, the tournament should prove to be the toughest contest yet for the Irish, who started the season strong last fall with three first-place finishes in five tournaments.

Notre Dame will compete against stiff competition this weekend, including No. 7 Arkansas, No. 21 Michigan State and No. 25 Texas A&M. Head coach Susan Holt said the young Irish golfers, led by freshman So-Hyun Park, will be tested.

“We’ll be right on our heels a lot of the time on this one,” Holt said. “This is tough competition. These are tough teams. We’ll be at a little bit of a disadvantage because of the recent weather [in South Bend].”

Although the team has been able to practice at its indoor facilities, Notre Dame has not played in a competitive tournament since October’s Ann Rhodes Intercollegiate in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Holt said it is difficult to prepare mentally for tournament play after the extended break.

“Golf is basically hitting shots and playing holes and managing our game,” Holt said. “We’re able to work on our short game indoors at our new practice facility and work on our driving outdoors. I want to look to get us back into our mode, that thought process that comes with managing the game.”

As a result, the focus for the Irish this weekend is to ease themselves back into competitive play.

“I’d like them to get comfortable again out on the course,” Holt said. “If they can really hone in on managing the game and managing the course, we can save some strokes. I don’t expect them to be spot on, I just want them to focus on managing the course and themselves.”

The River Wilderness Golf Club is a par 72, 6,100-yard course, featuring winding water hazards and tricky approach shots. It has hosted the Central District Invitational since 2002.

“It’s a playable, scorable [course],” Holt said. “[It’s] a good course to get back into it. The greens are large and undulating and can be fast depending on the weather. That’s the real trick to scoring well, to play the greens well.”

After a practice round on Sunday, the tournament rounds will be played on Monday and Tuesday.