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ND Women’s Golf: Irish squander lead, lose to ‘Ville in playoff

Lorenzo Reyes | Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Notre Dame squandered a three-stroke lead and lost in a one-hole playoff to Louisville in Tuesday’s final round of the Big East championships at the Oxmoor Country Club in the Cardinals’ hometown.Heading into the final round, Notre Dame had a comfortable lead for the top spot, but by the end of the day the Irish fell behind and found themselves finishing second in the conference.The Cardinals received clutch performances from their stars, with sophomore Cindy LaCrosse and senior Adrienne White greatly aiding them on their way to the victory. Both golfers shot a day-best two-under-par, 70, tying them for the lowest round score of the tournament.The Irish held a six-stroke advantage over Louisville after the first round, but the Cardinals cut the lead in half on the second day. With the win, Louisville recorded its second consecutive Big East title.By the time the Irish reached Tuesday’s back nine, Louisville had neutralized the small lead, and the final nine holes turned into a rollercoaster back and forth between both teams. The action heated up on the last two holes. Sophomore Lisa Maunu came through with a timely eagle on the last hole, giving the Irish a much-needed boost. After both teams’ scores were added up, they found themselves in a deadlock. Notre Dame’s overall score of 891 (292-302-297) was a season-best mark for a 54-hole tournament. Both teams headed to the par-four ninth hole for a playoff to decide the champion. Notre Dame shot a one-over-par on the hole, while Louisville scored even par, taking the title. Freshman Annie Brophy led the way for the Irish over the conference championship with her season-best score of even-par 216 (72-73-71), good enough for third place behind LaCrosse and White. The freshman’s final round of one-under-par 71 marked her lowest round of the season.Irish senior co-captain Noriko Nakazaki followed her teammate with a tournament performance of three-over-par 219 (73-74-72), ranking her fifth overall in the field of Big East golfers. Freshman Julie Kim also made significant contributions with her eighth-place score of 12-over-par 228 (72-78-78). Maunu came in a tie for 10th, shooting a 14-over-par 230 (77-77-78). It marked the first time all season that the Irish had four of their five golfers in the top 10.Rounding out the list for the Irish was freshman Kristin Wetzel, who came in 15th overall in the field of 33 golfers with a score of 19-over-par 235 (75-82-78). All five Irish golfers received All-Big East honors for their performances in the three-day tournament. Nakazaki has received the all-conference honors each of her four years with the Irish. Notre Dame will return to the course for the NCAA Regionals starting May 10, with the main goals of reaching the NCAA Finals.Irish coach Susan Holt and the players were unavailable for comment Tuesday due to travel.