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ND Women’s Golf: Huffer, Brophy lead team to fourth place tie in Windy City

Douglas Farmer | Thursday, October 8, 2009

In a talented field that included seven teams ranked in the top 25, the Irish were able post a 13-over par 301 in the final round Tuesday to finish in a tie for fourth place with host Northwestern in the Windy City Collegiate Championship.

Coming into the tournament ranked No. 70 in the NCAA, the Irish were looking to make a statement against top competition, and were able to do so, moving up 23 spots in the rankings.

“We really proved ourselves,” Irish coach Susan Holt said. “I told them going in that they weren’t the 70th-ranked team in the country, and they knew that, but they were the ones that had to do something about it and they were the only ones who could change it.”

The Irish started out strong on the first day of the tournament, shooting a 292 which put them in a tie for third with Northwestern. Notre Dame held strong in the final two rounds, but ended up slipping into fourth, still an impressive finish considering the quality of the competition.

Sophomore Becca Huffer paced the Irish, shooting even par for the tournament, good enough for a fifth-place finish, the highest individual finish of her career. After starting the tournament with a quadruple bogey on the first hole on her way to a two-over 74 in the first round, Huffer was able to rebound, shooting a two-under 70 in the second round and a team-best 72 in the final round to lead the Irish.

“(Huffer) is just a solid player,” Holt said. “She really stepped up and responded.”

Just behind Huffer was senior Annie Brophy, whose first round 69 was the team-best for the tournament and helped her finish in a tie for sixth place overall. Brophy and Huffer have been consistent all year for the Irish, leading the team in stroke average and average finish and are the only two golfers on the Notre Dame squad to shoot at or below par so far this year.

“(Brophy) and (Huffer) really stepped it up and played great,” Holt said. “They had a really good feel, and their solid play just gives us that extra confidence we need.”

Also scoring in the last round for the Irish were juniors Katie Conway and So-Hyun Park, who finished in a tie for 35th place and 66th place, respectively.

“It was a good solid team performance,” Holt said. “They went out and did what they had to do.”

Purdue dominated the tournament throughout, shooting a nine-under 279 in the first round on their way to a 14-stroke victory. Tulane and Arizona also finished ahead of Notre Dame.

Boilermaker Maude-Aimee LeBlanc took medalist honors, edging out Michigan’s Ashley Bauer by a stroke at five-under. Tulane’s Linn Gustafsson and Purdue’s Junthima Gulyanamitta finished third and fourth.

The Irish will return to South Bend before heading to Knoxville, Ten n. where they will face an even stronger field made up almost entirely of top-25 teams at the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Championship, a three-day tournament which begins Oct. 16.