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ND Women’s Golf: Armstrong’s consistency guides Irish play

Greg Hadley | Wednesday, October 9, 2013

From the moment she stepped on campus, Ashley Armstrong was a leader. Irish coach Susan Holt knew that she had found a golfer that would take the reins and push her teammates to be better.

“Ashley has been a great leader for our program ever since she’s been here,” Holt said. “She takes everything very seriously and has been a very solid player.”

Now a junior, Armstrong is a team captain and has a list of accomplishments, both individually and as a team member, which highlight her leadership abilities. In her freshman year, the Flossmoor, Ill. native stunned the field at the Big East Conference Championship to take the top spot. Overall, she paced the Irish to a second place finish. At the NCAA regional round, she once again led the Irish, placing 26th.

Armstrong’s sophomore year proved to be even better than her freshman campaign. Her season stroke average of 74.64 was the fourth best in program history. In addition, she won two consecutive tournaments, one of which, the Briar’s Creek Invitational, was Notre Dame’s first team victory in almost two years. Golfweek magazine named her the National Women’s Player of the Week.

At the Big East championship, Armstrong took the backseat to the two Irish freshmen, Talia Campbell and Lindsey Weaver, who took co-medalist honors, but she still finished in fifth place and was named to the all-Big East team for the second year in a row. Academically, the engineering major was named to the Capital One Academic All-District V At-Large first team.

Although Armstrong did not have the finish she was hoping for last season, placing 96th at the NCAA regional, she hit the ground runningrthis season, finishing second in the Mary Fossum Invitational in East Lansing with a score of four-over par.

“She had a great finish at Mary Fossum this year even though she was injured,” Holt said. “That’s the kind of leadership we want for our program.”
For Holt, Armstrong’s success has been a work-in-progress as she continues to reach her full potential.

“All of our players, at any point in time, have something they need to work on,” Holt said. “Something Ashley was able to do, is manage her game a lot better. That comes with her maturity as a player. She’s learned to be more patient and forgiving of herself on the golf course. She doesn’t get as down on herself as she used to when she was a freshman. She used to put a lot of pressure on herself to perform and I think she’s realized that less is more in that regard.”

Along the way, Armstrons endeared herself to her coach and teammates, leading to her selection as team captain this year.

“She’s such a dynamic individual,” Holt said. “Her self-discipline is her greatest attribute and she strives to excel at everything she does. But she’s also a laid-back personality off the course. She’s unique in that she likes to have fun. She likes to enjoy the college life but she’s very balanced in all aspects of her life, including academics.”

Armstrong and the Irish play this weekend from Friday to Sunday at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C.  
 

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu