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Women’s Golf: No. 25 Irish head to Elk Run with high hopes

Joe Meixell | Friday, April 18, 2008

“It feels like all the pieces are coming together.”

Head Coach Susan Holt’s words on the eve of the Big East tournament encapsulate No. 25 Notre Dame’s season so far – one of unprecedented success fueled by youth and mental toughness. The Irish hold the No.1 seed heading into their penultimate tournament – the Big East Championship – at the Elk Run Golf Club in Batavia, Ohio. The tournament will be composed of three rounds played at the par-71, 5,724-yard course, from April 20-22.

Coach Holt, whose squad has earned eight top-five finishes this year, is optimistic of the team’s chances.

“Our goal all year has been winning the Big East Championship,” Holt said. “That’s what we expect to do, and we deserve to have that happen. We’ve been playing good golf lately and it seems like our time.”

Although Notre Dame has been set firmly in the crosshairs with the No. 1 seed, Holt is confident in her team.

“We’ve been in this position a number of times because of the successes we’ve had. We’re used to it. The team is tough.”

This season has been marked by historic successes for the Irish. The squad has had a program-record four first-place finishes this season, including a program-first three consecutive tournament victories. Notre Dame also collected honors at Golf World Magazine’s mid-season awards banquet, being named the most surprising women’s team, while Irish freshman So-Hyun Park was named most surprising women’s player. Park is on pace to shatter the program’s single-season scoring record of 74.12 with a season average of 73.26, and has carded eight consecutive top-10 finishes, including two first-place finishes.

Junior captain Lisa Maunu has also performed strongly, second behind Park with a 75.35 scoring average and two podium finishes. In addition, every Notre Dame golfer has carded at least one top-10 finish this year.

The Elk Run Golf Club is foreign ground to the Irish, but Coach Holt feels her team will perform well regardless.

” It’s a neutral site, and we’ve never played it,” Holt said. “But we’ve had success this year on new courses so we’re not too worried. We haven’t changed our preparation, and it’s been nice this week so we’ve been able to play every day. We made a commitment to do exactly what we’re doing. We’re on track.”

The tournament will be the final of the year for Notre Dame before the NCAA tournament next month.