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ND Women’s Golf: Notre Dame strives to return to NCAA championships

Observer Staff Report | Monday, September 19, 2011

 

The Irish start the fall portion of their schedule today at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Wolcott, Colo. The team hopes to get an early indication of whether they can repeat a trip to the NCAA championships after earning a bid to the tournament for the first time in program history last season.

Top ranked teams from each conference last season were invited to the 54-hole tournament at the Red Sky Golf Club, Colorado’s top ranked course. If those teams were unable to participate in the 18-team field, the next highest ranked team was invited. The competition for the Irish, who finished 25th in the final Golfweek rankings last season, includes Pepperdine and Oklahoma, who were ranked 20th and 27th respectively.

The tournament will also feature the debuts of freshmen Ashley Armstrong and Kelli Oride for the Irish. Both were accomplished players in high school and each were ranked among the top 50 players in their class by Golfweek. Armstrong successfully qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur this past summer, while Oride earned a spot as an alternate for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open.

Meanwhile, the experienced side of the five-player team is led by senior captain Becca Huffer. Last season, Huffer placed in the top-10 on four occasions in tournament play and held a 74.9 stroke average, good for second on the team. Huffer also has earned All-Big East honors in each of her three seasons. The location of the Golfweek Conference Challenge tournament will allow Huffer’s family to watch the Denver, Colo., native play.

Katie Allare, the other senior on the squad, averaged 78.3 strokes per round in 2010.

The roster is rounded out by sophomore Kristina Nhim, who posted an average of 76.2 strokes per round last season. Nhim also placed third in the Big East championships with a six-over-par, missing out on first place by only one stroke.

Following the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the Irish will travel to North Carolina from Oct. 7-9 to compete in the Tar Heel Invitational.