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Irish grab fifth place thanks to final round

Lorenzo Reyes | Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Notre Dame came from behind at the Indiana Invitational to grab a fifth- place finish thanks to a strong performance in Tuesday’s final round.

Monday afternoon was supposed to feature two rounds of golf, but inclement weather moved the start time back several hours only allowing a single round. Rather than playing the full 54 holes, the tournament was shortened to 36 with the final round played Tuesday afternoon.

Notre Dame shot a plus 14 (302) in Tuesday’s final round of play to finish with an overall score of 612.

The Irish nearly missed a top-three spot, coming in two behind Oregon which finished in fourth with a 610 and only three behind Illinois who held on for the third-place finish.

Michigan came away with the victory after shooting a tournament-best plus seven (295) in the last round to come from behind.

Once again, senior co-captain Noriko Nakazaki was the best golfer for the Irish with her three-over-par 75 on the first day of the tournament. Only three strokes off the lead heading into the final round, she posted an even-par 72 to finish in a tie for second place with senior Rachel Meikle of Michigan State.

Illinois junior Seul Ki Park took first place honors at the invitational. Nakazaki matched Park with her second round, but could not overcome the three-stroke difference from the first day of play. Nakazaki’s gem marked the highest finish of the season for the Irish.

The Irish also capitalized on solid performances from their rookies. Freshman Annie Brophy claimed her first top-10 finish of her career by tying for ninth place with a seven-over par 151 (77-74). Freshman Kristin Wetzel equaled her classmate’s two-over par on the day and eventually finished with an 11-over par 155 (81-74).

Julie Kim completed the freshman trio and finished fourth for the Irish with rounds of 78 and 82 to give her a 16-over par showing, good enough for a 57th-place tie. Rounding out the Notre Dame lineup was sophomore Lisa Maunu, who clubbed a 19-over par 163 (80-83).

The solid Irish performance at the Indiana Invitational is a great tune-up heading into the 2007 Big East championships. Notre Dame will challenge its conference rivals in Louisville at the Oxmoor Country Club April 23-24.