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ND Women’s Golf

Strong fall season fails to translate in spring for Notre Dame

| Friday, May 13, 2016

The Irish were a story of two halves this year, as the team finished with a stroke average nearly four shots better than the program record in the fall, but stumbled this spring and finished 10th at the ACC tournament.

In the fall, the Irish welcomed three new freshmen to the lineup. All three ended up in the starting lineup, and finished the fall as the No. 3 ranked freshmen class in the country, according to Golfstat, and played a large part in the team’s success.

“I think the freshmen have adjusted very well to the lifestyle of a Notre Dame student athlete,” Irish head coach Susan Holt said. “There are a lot of demands on your time academically and athletically, and they’ve all travelled and played from day one, so overall, I think they’ve done a great job with the transition. … I’m excited where we’re at, and I really think this group can take over for sure.”

Along with their record stroke average, the team won the Mary Fossum Invitational in September as well as the Nebraska Chip-N Club Invitational by 30 strokes in October. But the highlight of the season was the last tournament in the fall, the Landfall Tradition, where the Irish finished second amongst a competitive field that included 11 teams in the top 50.

“That is one of the best collegiate fields in the country year in and year out,” Holt said. “And, this year, for us to finish second in that field out of 18 teams … that, for sure, was the highlight, and especially with the fact that, on the last day, we shot seven-under. That round, with what was at stake, was a huge moment for our players and a really nice exclamation point on our fall season.”

The team entered the spring looking to build on their record season, but the Irish struggled. The team didn’t win a tournament, and ended up 10th out of 12 teams in the ACC tournament.

“I wish we would’ve just played better,” Holt said. “But if you look at our history, spring golf is a challenge for us, and it really is because of the weather. … [For the ACC championship] we went in there as the five-seed, and we just had a bad first day, and that’s been kind of our struggle this spring, to put three rounds together in a tournament, and unfortunately we started poorly. … But that’s behind us now, and you learn from it, and it exposed obviously what we needed to work on.”

Despite the disappointing performances, however, a bright spot for the Irish has been senior captain Talia Campbell, who has led the team both on and off the course. Campbell was the highest individual finisher for the Irish at ACCs, where she finished ninth, and became the first golfer in the program’s history to finish as the top team member at four consecutive conference tournaments.

“It’s not just this year — Talia has been a really steady, solid contributor to our program over these past four years,” Holt said. “She’s not a flashy player, but she’s a very solid and consistent player. She makes a ton of pars, doesn’t put herself in a lot of trouble, and is just really really steady. She puts in the effort and puts in the time, and I think for the underclassmen when you have a senior who hasn’t checked out [it’s a big plus].”

The Irish finished their season last weekend, finishing 13th in the NCAA regional in Birmingham, Alabama.

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About Tobias Hoonhout

Toby is a junior PLS/Economics double major from Smithtown, New York.

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