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Tournament score shows late-round resilience

Joe Hettler | Friday, October 10, 2003

Notre Dame shot a 308 in the first round of The Shootout at the Legends tournament earlier this week, and they would have been pleased with such a score last season.

But this year, the Irish weren’t.

“We were upset after the first round,” coach Debby King said. “And that’s a big step for us, because last year we would have been happy with that score.”

The Irish came back to produce two solid rounds and finished the tournament in seventh place, with a three-day total of 902 against a very difficult field. The Legends had schools from all across the nation, including some very strong Big Ten foes.

“That was the toughest field we will face all season,” King said. “It was massively filled with Big Ten teams, and we were able to beat quite a few of them.”

Perhaps the biggest indicator of the team’s improvement from last season was its score this year – 41 strokes better than when the Irish took 13th in 2002 at the same tournament. They shot 308-294-300 during the three rounds.

The biggest difference in the shootout at the Legends tournament and throughout the fall has been the consistent play of two freshmen and the strong effort from the rest of team. Freshman Noriko Nakazaki leads the team with an 18-hole scoring average 75, while fellow first-year golfer Stacy Brown has averaged just over 81 strokes per round.

Katie Brophy and Sarah Bassett have also been crucial in lifting the Irish to impressive showings at all of their fall tournaments. They have averaged 76.33 and 76.67 strokes per round, respectively.

King said she is extremely pleased with her team’s’play in the fall.

Notre Dame has already accomplished several team goals, such as being ranked in the top 50th. The Irish started the year at 99th and have jumped to 36th.

“We might have to rework our goals,” King said.

One of the biggest keys for the team’s ascension in the rankings is their ability to fire rounds near 300.

King wants to continue to see that score reached by her team.

“We still want to be around 300 for every round,” she said.

The Irish have a week off before heading to Palm Harbor, Fla. for the adidas Invitational Oct. 19-21, where King says the competition will be fairly strong once again.

They will end the fall season in Charleston, S.C. at the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Dunes Intercollegiate Invitational Nov. 3.