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Irish roll to victory by 12 strokes

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, October 6, 2004

The Irish are on a roll.

The team rallied from one stroke down to come back and win the Shootout at the Legends by 12 strokes. For the first time in Irish coach Debby King’s four-year tenure, the Irish can boast about winning back-to-back tournaments, starting with the Jeannine McHaney Invitational/ Central Regional Preview title on Sept. 24-26.

The Irish faced a relatively strong field at the Shootout, including Michigan, currently ranked No. 11 according to the most recent golfstat.com poll.

King is pleased to see her team beginning to achieve its potential. The team has also achieved its highest ranking of the season, No. 18 in according to golfstat.com’s most recent poll.

“It’s just like the cliché; it was just a matter of time,” King said. “All of [the players on the team] have been working so hard, it had to pay off sooner or later.”

Junior co-captain Katie Brophy and sophomore Stacy Brown led the Irish this weekend, both finishing in a tie for eighth with three-round totals of 11-over-par 227s.

Sophomore Noriko Nakazaki finished close behind her teammates, posting a 229 to finish in 13th place. Nakazaki rebounded from a tough first round, in which she shot an 82, by finishing her final two rounds with a 73 and a 72, pulling herself into the top 15.

Suzie Hayes had a consistent tournament and ended her tournament in a three-way tie for 14th place with a 14-over par 230. Hayes, a junior co-captain, had one of her most impressive finishes since joining the team two years ago.

“Suzie had one of her best tournaments of her career,” King said.

However, King was not at all surprised by the strong play of her team leader.

“I’ve been waiting for her to do this for some time,” she said.

Rounding out the Irish lineup were junior Lauren Gebauer and freshman Jane Lee. Gebauer finished with a 235, placing her in a tie for 24th. Lee, who has played in every event so far in her first season, struggled somewhat in the early rounds, and walked off the course Tuesday in 41st place, ending up with a 242.

What’s most impressive about the Irish’s most recent victory is they did not rely entirely on the great play of one individual player. The team finished with consistent play from all six players.

Consistency was something the team worked hard on early this season, and King is pleased to see that the team’s effort is paying off.

“The thing about this team is, we’re so deep with talent, and everyone is stepping up and playing well right now,” she said.