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ND Women’s Golf: Title-seeking squad seven shots back of first

Greg Hadley | Monday, April 22, 2013

In pursuit of the program’s fifth Big East conference title, the Irish did not get off to the start they wanted Sunday in Orlando, Fla., but still ended the first round in second place, seven shots behind the leader Louisville. 

The heavy favorite coming into the Big East championship, No. 26 Notre Dame stumbled out of the gate but rallied on the back nine to entrench itself solidly in second, seven shots up on third-place Seton Hall. 

“We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to,” Irish coach Susan Holt said. “But almost everyone played better on the back nine. We need to have a better start [Monday] so we can regroup and cut into that [seven-shot] deficit.”

Holt said she knows there is still plenty of golf to play, and she feels optimistic about her team’s chances to capture the conference title.

“It’s only been one round and it’s only seven shots,” Holt said. “We can come back. We know what we need to do. I feel as though some teams have already played their best golf and we haven’t even begun to really get going yet.”

The Irish score of 294 was below their season average of 301.8, but Holt said she thought the course acted as an equalizer that allowed the field to stay closer than normal.

“We shot a little below our average, but you’ve got teams out there that shot just over 300, when their season average is closer to 320, some even at 340,” Holt said.

For her squad to rally and win, Holt sees several areas that need improvement.

“We didn’t have enough birdies,” she said. “We need to make more putts and we need to get off to a better start and really play well on the front nine.”

One of the reasons the Irish remain in contention is the stellar play of their two freshmen, Lindsey Weaver and Talia Campbell. Weaver, the top-ranked player in the field at No. 16, shot three-under on the back nine to end the day with a one-under par 71 that tied her for second, just one shot off the lead. Campbell is close on Weaver’s heels, one shot back in a three-way tie for sixth at even par. 

“It’s great to have Lindsey back to form,” Holt said. “She’s hit a rough patch recently, so it’s important that she keep this up. Talia was in very solid form as well.”

Junior Kristina Nhim is also in the top 15 after shooting a 74, more than three shots fewer than her season average (77.84). Defending conference champion and Irish sophomore Ashley Armstrong, who has already won two tournaments this year, shot five-over on the front nine before regrouping and parring all nine holes on the back nine.

The Irish will continue play Monday and Tuesday at the Big East championship in Orlando, Fla.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu