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Irish tie for 9th at Golfweek Challenge

Jack Hefferon | Thursday, September 22, 2011

Golf tends to be a game of ups and downs, with titles often going to the player or team that finds its groove at the right time. Notre Dame showed signs of last year’s Big East Championship-winning form at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Wolcott, Colo., but in the end the team’s inconsistency resulted in a ninth-place finish.

“We did get some individual highlights, but it’s got to be a team effort,” Irish coach Susan Holt said. “We had people who started off the tournament well, but we couldn’t keep it going. Conditions were much better out there today than they have been, but we weren’t able to take advantage.”

Despite the relative disappointment of opening the year with a loss, the Irish did indeed have some individual highlights. After shooting +13 in her first two rounds, freshman Kelli Oride rebounded Wednesday, carding four birdies on her way to a 1-over round.

“[Oride] played really solid today,” Holt said. “She hung in there when she had some opportunities for birdies early on but didn’t capitalize, and she was able to pick up some later on.”

Notre Dame’s seniors also had some quality rounds Wednesday. Senior Becca Huffer shot even-par on the day after falling to +15 after day 2, and senior Katie Allare was the one constant for the Irish, following up two +5 rounds with a +6 Wednesday.

“It was nice to see Becca shoot well today, and Katie’s performance was really solid for us today,” Holt said. “She was our most consistent player, she just wasn’t able to make enough birdies.”

On the other side of the coin Wednesday were freshman Ashley Armstrong and sophomore Kristina Nhim. After shooting Notre Dame’s best two-day scores, the young players regressed to each shooting +9, respectively. The duo suffered from a run of bad play that seemed to build upon itself, as one bogey snowballed into a string of bogeys.

“The greens were really tough out there, and they seemed worn down from the first couple days of the tournament,” Holt said. “Putting is all about confidence, and we had pretty low confidence today. We put ourselves in some bad spots on these greens.”

Despite the opening tournament not being perfect, Holt realizes that there are still many rounds left in the season, and the players will continue to work throughout the fall season on finding their swings. With two weeks off before heading to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Tar Heel Invitational, Notre Dame will have plenty of time to hit the practice facility and work on their consistency.

“It’s good to get the first tournament under your belt,” Holt said. “I thought we hit the ball well, it’s just a matter of fine-tuning some things. We know what we have to work on now, we just have to keep working at it.”

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