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ND Women’s Golf: Irish squad feels confident approaching Collegiate Classic

Laura Coletti | Friday, April 15, 2011

Senior captain Katie Conway and the Irish have been rigorously training all week and will travel to Palm Harbor, Fla., Sunday with their sights set on bringing home the 2011 Big East tournament title.

The Irish placed eighth in their last outing, the highly competitive Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. Freshman standout Nicole Zhang finished in a team-best 15th place in the individual field.

“The team is feeling really confident going into Big East this week,” Conway said. “At the University of Georgia’s tournament, we beat a lot of top-25 teams.”

The team will be striving for a balanced attack in order to score consistently, Conway said.

“Each of us has delivered at key moments in the season, and we are looking to build off of those experiences in the championship,” she said. “We’re favored to win, which can add an extra element of pressure, but we’ve been preparing all season for this and we know we’re ready.”

The eight teams in the field were paired on a random-draw basis, with Notre Dame drawing a No. 2 seed. The Irish will tee off against No. 1 Seton Hall and No. 3 Georgetown on Sunday morning. Rutgers, Louisville, St. John’s and Cincinnati round out the field.

The three-day tournament consists of three 18-hole rounds. Each team’s lineup consists of five golfers, with the top four scores from each round counting towards the team’ score for each day of play.

“Our biggest rival is Louisville,” Conway said. “[The Cardinals have] won the past two years and have been playing well recently. While we are ranked higher, we’re going to all need to play well and come together as a team to earn back the title of reigning Big East champion. Our goal is not only to win, but to score as low as we can to build some more momentum and confidence as we look toward NCAA regionals.”

Notre Dame finished third in a seven-team field in the 2010 Big East championships. They have captured the title three times in the past 10 years, most recently in 2009.

Conway and fellow senior So-Hyun Park will be looking to finish their Big East careers on a high note.

“For So-Hyun and I, this is our final Big East tournament,” Conway said. “We are the only ones on the team with a Big East championship ring, and we want our underclassmen to have rings, too. We want to finish off our play at Notre Dame in the same way we started.”