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Maunu wins Big East individual; team places second

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Senior Lisa Maunu finished off her conference career with a bang Tuesday, winning the Big East individual championship and leading the Irish to a second place finish in the conference championship.

Notre Dame shot a 23-over round of 294 in the third round for its best team score of the tournament, but still finished well behind Louisville’s 12-over mark. Overall, the Irish shot a three-round total of 887, finishing 11 strokes behind the champion Cardinals’ 876.

Louisville and Notre Dame separated from the rest of the field, with both over 20 strokes ahead of Cincinnati and Georgetown, who tied for third.

Maunu ended the tournament at one under after shooting a two-under final round of 70, including an impressive performance on the back nine. She bogeyed on the 10th hole to put her at three-over, but rebounded with birdies on the 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 17th holes.

“Six birdies was the best birthday present ever,” Maunu, who celebrated her birthday Tuesday, said. “The finish was amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better finish in my last round of the Big East.”

Maunu’s performance was one of only two under-par rounds of the day, finishing three shots ahead of Louisville’s Sara-Maude Juneau.

Maunu’s three-round total for the tournament was 215, highlighted by her 70 in the final round and 71 in the second.

Irish sophomore So-Hyun Park and junior Annie Brophy each also earned All-Big East honors for finishing in the top-10. The pair tied for ninth with eight-over marks of 224.

This was Park’s second consecutive All-Big East honor, and Brophy’s third. The duo’s top ten performance was still not as successful as last year, when Brophy was the medalist and won by two strokes over Park.

“Although we didn’t win, we definitely showed some improvement and things should be in full swing come regionals,” Maunu said.

Freshman Becca Huffer finished tied for 11th after a four-over 76 final round for a final score of 225, and junior Kristin Wetzel finished 23rd with a third round of 79, giving her a total of 235.

All the Irish can do now is wait for the NCAA selections to be announced on Monday, April 27. NCAA Regional play will commence May 7 at sites in Gainesville, Fla., Tempe, Ariz., and Columbus, Ohio.