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ND Women’s Golf: Irish begin Big East tournament

Greg Hadley | Friday, April 19, 2013

 

After a strong spring season, the Irish head down to Orlando, Fla. to begin the postseason and face a Big East crowd a the conference tournament.

The Irish enter the tournament as the heavy favorite, with a spotless 6-0 record against Big East competition this spring, and the top two ranked individuals in the field, including last year’s individual champion, sophomore Ashley Armstrong. However, there are still the memories of last year, when the Irish fell short, losing by just one stroke to South Florida.

The memory still galls Irish coach Susan Holt. 

“We’re the favorites this year, but we were the favorites last year too,” Holt said. “It’s not always the best team that wins, but the team that plays best. If we play the golf we’re capable of playing, then we should do well.” 

Holt said her team will be able to handle the pressure of being the favorites and take home the title

“Our goal is to win every year,” Holt said. “We’re used to competing at a high level so we can handle the pressure well. We had a good regular season, but we’ve really focused on the postseason all year.”

The Irish’s main competition figures to be Louisville, the second highest ranked team in the field. However, the Irish defeated the Cardinals at the SMU Invitational by 10 strokes, without the help of star freshman Lindsey Weaver, who withdrew due to illness.

“Louisville has some good players,” Holt said. “We need to show up and play well. The girls are excited to have Lindsey back and want to get out there and play.”

The entire team has played the course before, even the freshmen, giving the Irish a bit of an advantage, Holt said. 

On the individual side, sophomore Ashley Armstrong reigns as the defending conference champion after prevailing in a three-hole playoff last year. Armstrong has won two tournaments this spring and lowered her personal best score to one-under par. 

Yet she is not the highest ranked player in the field. That honor would go to Weaver, currently ranked No. 16 by Golfstat. Holt said she believes both have an excellent chance of winning.

“Absolutely, both have a chance to win,” Holt said. “They both have good history at this course, Ashley from last year and Lindsey from high school. Ashley has played very well this spring and Lindsey is a very solid golfer.”

Holt’s focus remains on the team championship and she said she wants her team to focus on that as well.

“We need everyone, all five, to play well if we’re going to win,” she said.

The Irish compete this weekend in Orlando, Fla. at the Big East conference championships.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu