The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Women’s Golf: Program reaches new heights

Vicky Jacobsen | Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 proved to be a year of firsts as Notre Dame reached unprecedented levels of success on the links. In addition to winning their fourth Big East title, claiming four spots on the All-Big East Team and Susan Holt winning the Big East Coach of the Year award, the Irish qualified for the NCAA championship finals for the first time.

“We have advanced to regionals the past four years as a team. This has been the norm for us,” Irish coach Susan Holt said. “By advancing to finals now for the first time in program history, we have set a new norm for the future.”

Senior So-Hyun Park agreed with Holt and said the seniors were especially happy to see their four years of hard work pay off on the course.

“[Senior captain] Katie Conway and I came to Notre Dame to make a difference in the women’s golf program. Advancing to NCAA finals was our ultimate goal and we worked very hard for it for the past four years,” Park said. “It meant a lot to Katie and I especially because it is our last year playing at Notre Dame. We were more determined than ever to get ourselves onto the next stage.”

Although the Irish enjoyed many impressive individual accomplishments — Park, junior Becca Huffer and freshmen Nicole Zhang and Kristina Nhim were named to the 2011 All-Big East team, and Huffer was named the Big East Player of the Week in March — Holt credited her team’s depth and teamwork for its success.

“This team is made up of the top four recruiting classes in the history of the program, and as a result, we expected to do great things,” Holt said. “We did not rely on any one player to produce low numbers. We had six players that could step up and shoot low scores and we had that from everyone throughout the year.”

Aside from qualifying for the finals for the first time, the highlight of the season came at the Big East championships when the Irish defeated rival Louisville for their first conference title in three years.

“We gave the title to our biggest rival in the field, Louisville, for the past two years, so we weren’t going to let them take the championship title from us this year,” Park said. “Katie Conway and I were especially glad that we were able to win it our last year of collegiate golf. I also think that winning the Big East championships helped us get into good momentum going into NCAA regionals.”

The Irish will wrap up their season at the NCAA championship finals from May 18 to 21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas.

“We have a pretty good idea of what to work on in order to get ready for NCAA finals,” Park said. “With our talents, there is no reason why we shouldn’t win every single tournament we play.”