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Irish in good shape after round two

Joe Meixell | Monday, October 2, 2006

Notre Dame overcame first round struggles and a stiff Kansas wind to place third out of 16 teams after two rounds of competition in the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational at the par-72 Alvamar Golf Club in Lawrence, Kan., Monday.

The Irish struggled in the first round of play, posting a team score of 316, putting them in seventh at the conclusion of the first round.

Later in the day the wind picked up, causing many teams to post high second round scores, but the Irish managed to shoot 309 – the second best score of the round – to pull into third overall (625, +49) behind Arkansas-Little Rock (306-318, 624 +48) and tournament host Kansas (304-306, 610 +34).

“I’m proud of the way we hung in there with the conditions the way they were,” head coach Susan Holt said. “It’s encouraging that we’re only one shot out of second place. It’s nice to be in the last grouping and have a chance to win.”

Sophomore Lisa Maunu (79-75, 154 +10) and junior Jane Lee (76-78, 154 +10) paced the Irish, both tying for sixth overall. Freshman Annie Brophy was close behind with an 80-76, 156 +12, tying for 16th individually.

The wind had a strong effect on the Irish golfers, making club selection difficult.

“The wind affected a lot of people, especially on the par-3’s and trying to get the ball on the green, so you hit higher clubs to hit it lower and hope it goes on the green,” Maunu said.

Lee also had problems initially adjusting to the weather conditions.

“I had a hard time focusing early, but I visualized how the ball would go in the air and that helped,” she said. “When it got windy, I shot a club up or a club down. The wind was swirling so it was really hard to judge where it was blowing.”

Maunu struggled early in the first round, but was able to storm back in the second round to keep Notre Dame in contention.

“I figured out my swing a little bit more in the second round, even though I played statistically worse in the second round. I saw an improvement in my short game because I had a lot of up and down shots,” Maunu said.

Holt emphasized improving the squad’s short game since arriving from South Florida before the Notre Dame Invitational last week in an attempt to shave unnecessary strokes off the team’s score.

“My short game was a big improvement, because practicing on that made me feel more confident that if I miss, I don’t get down on myself,” Lee said.

The program’s overall stroke average leader, senior Noriko Nakazaki (81-80, 161, +17) struggled on day one, tying tied for 35th overall, while Brophy shot 81-83, 164, +20. Senior Stacy Brown, playing as an individual entrant, shot 87-87, 174 +30.

Kansas’ Amanda Costner leads all players with a 3-over par 175.

Costner and Arkansas-Little Rock’s Anita Ojeda tied for the low round of the day with an even-par 72.