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ND Women’s Golf: Teammates Brophy, Huffer push each other, lead Irish

Eric Prister | Thursday, November 5, 2009

Throughout Notre Dame’s fall season, senior Annie Brophy and sophomore Becca Huffer have been outplaying their competition, leading the Irish to a huge jump in the rankings. It is their competition against each other, however, that truly brings the most out of the stellar Irish golfers.

“As teammates, we have always been encouraging and positive towards each other,” Huffer said. “I think this past season though, we have really gotten into pushing each other to do our best at every tournament and figuring out how we can help each other improve.”

This competitive spirit has paid off for Brophy and Huffer, who have finished first and second for the Irish in four of their five fall tournaments. Huffer leads the Irish in stroke average, shooting less than half a stroke better than Brophy, and her average finish is only one place higher than her senior teammate.

“I think the best part about having a teammate like (Huffer) is that she pushes me to be better every time we play,” Brophy said. “At the very beginning of the year, we had a team meeting about being more competitive with each other in order to help be more competitive as a team. [Huffer] is one of the best players in every field we play. If I can keep up with her, I’m doing all right.”

While Huffer holds a slight advantage on the course, Brophy remains the off-course leader of the Irish squad. Named captain at the beginning of the season, she has the ability to lead vocally as well as by example.

“[Brophy] came into this year and wanted to be that person,” coach Susan Holt said. “She wanted to be a team captain. She wanted that role, that position, that responsibility, and I think that showed a lot of growth and maturity to want to be that person.”

Ending the fall season on a high note, Brophy finished in a tie for first place in the one-day Alamo Invitational on Oct. 27 in San Antonio, Texas, the best individual finish for an Irish golfer this season.

“[Brophy] has the respect of her teammates because she’s able to perform consistently for us, and she’s got a really good personality,” Holt said. “That bodes well for keeping good continuity and team unity for us.”

Huffer’s best individual performance came at the Windy City Collegiate, a tournament in which she shot even par and finished in a tie for fifth place. She was the top scorer for the Irish in three out of their five tournaments this season.

“[Huffer] is pretty quiet,” Holt said. “She’s kind of a silent leader. She just lets her golf game do the talking. She is just an all-around good player and good solid person. Her play has certainly earned her the respect of her teammates, even being a sophomore.

Brophy and Huffer each credit each other with helping to improve both their individual performances as well as the team’s performance. While Brophy’s leadership skills have helped give Huffer the confidence she needs to perform, it is Huffer’s work ethic and technical skill that has most affected Brophy.

“[Huffer] knows the mechanical part of the game much better than I do,” Brophy said. “It’s helpful to have a teammate like her to help me out with my swing, putting stroke, short game, stuff like that.  She is a hard worker and dedicated to the game and this team.”

Their on-course competition has not affected their off the course relationship, as Huffer and Brophy often room together during road trips. The competition is merely meant to boost their performance, and force each other to play up to their highest potential.

“I know [Brophy] and I both want to individually finish the best at each tournament and we tell each other that we’re going to have to go low to beat each other every day, but we definitely keep it fun,” Huffer said.