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Women’s Golf: Irish take fourth in Hawaii

Fran Tolan | Thursday, March 23, 2006

After a last place finish at the ‘Mo’ Morial Tournament in Bryan, Texas last week, Notre Dame responded with a fourth-place finish against tough competition at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Inviational in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Before the tournament, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday, Notre Dame coach Debbie King said that her team’s goal was to finish among the top four teams in the field of eleven.

Thursday, the Irish accomplished their goal, finishing just one stroke behind third place LSU.

“We were happy with the way we played this week,” King said. “It would have been nice to finish ahead of a team that was ranked higher than us, like LSU, but overall I think we did very well.”

The Irish headed into Wednesday’s third and final round leading LSU by nine shots. But the Tigers shot a 293 – beating Notre Dame’s 303 – giving LSU the third place finish.

Despite Notre Dame’s inability to maintain its lead, the strong overall performance was very important for a squad that had been struggling.

“We played a heck of a lot better than we had been playing,” King said of the Hawaii event.

King wanted Notre Dame to record a round under 301.5, the team average during the fall season.

The Irish finished the first round with a 299. The team then continued the steady play with a 304 and a 303 in the final two days on the course.

Notre Dame junior Noriko Nakazaki placed seventh overall with an eight-over 221 in her fifth top-ten finish of the season. Irish senior Lauren Gebauer, recorded her first top-ten finish of the campaign as she tied for ninth place with a three-round score of 223.

No. 16 Tennessee, according to the latest golfstat.com rankings, shot a tournament-best round of 280 on Wednesday to take the team title with a four-over par 856 (288-288-280).

Four of the top five overall scores were recorded by Lady Vols golfers.