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Irish to face tough match

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 24, 2004

This weekend, the Irish will face the measuring stick to see where they stand against the top teams in the Central Region.

The team will travel to Lubbock, Texas, to compete in the program’s first-ever Central Regional preview at the Jeanine McHaney Invitational, held at the Jerry S. Rawls golf course. Texas Tech, who is hosting the event, will also host the NCAA regionals in the spring. This is the first time the Irish have qualified for this tournament, as last season was the first time they qualified for the NCAA regionals. The tournament, a 54-hole event, will begin today and run through Sunday.

The field of competition will be extremely tough for the Irish, ranked No. 30 in the Golfweek.com rankings.

Leading the charge will be Missouri, ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek.com rankings. Oklahoma, Iowa State and Arkansas are all ranked in the top 20 as well. However, despite the strength of many of the competing Central Regional teams, the Invitational cannot be deemed a true preview of the NCAA regionals, which will be held in the spring. Big Ten schools, including No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Michigan and No. 13 Michigan State will not be participating.

In spite of the challenges in front of the team, Irish coach Debby King is confident in her team’s abilities.

“We had our best qualifying of the semester, and hopefully that is a sign of good things to come for us this weekend,” King told und.com.

Junior co-captain Katie Brophy emerged as the team’s top qualifier, and is poised to lead the Irish the weekend. Junior Lauren Gebauer will also tee-off for the team in Texas. At the Lady Northern Invitational on Sept. 11-12, the two juniors led the team in scoring, as they tied for 17th with 11-over-par 227s.

Sophomores Noriko Nakazaki and Stacy Brown will join them in the lineup this weekend, as will freshman Jane Lee. Lee, who has competed in every event for the Irish, and Brown will hope to get back on track after struggling during the Lady Northern Invitational.

With the fall season barely underway, King still wants to make a statement this weekend.

“If we have a top-five finish, we’d be very pleased, because we are competing against some of the best teams in the central region,” King said.