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ND Women’s Golf: Irish tied for eleventh after first two rounds of Invitational

Vicky Jacobsen | Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The No. 15 Irish hoped to tee off the spring season with a quick start but instead find themselves tied with No. 13 Arkansas for 11th in a field of 15 after the first two rounds of the Central District Invitational at the River Wilderness Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Notre Dame shot a collective 35-over par in the first two rounds, 28 more than Louisiana State, who currently stand in first. Freshman Nicole Zhang, the top freshman in the nation, was the top finisher for the Irish, carding a 76 (plus-4) in round one and a 74 (plus-2) in the second.

“It felt great getting back into tournament mode, but we definitely did not play our best,” Zhang said. “We were all just really rusty from not playing a round of golf in a few months, and it was tough getting adjusted to playing 36 holes of tournament golf again.”

The Irish opened the day with a combined 303 (plus-15) first round, placing them in a four-way tie for ninth place with Kent State, Baylor and Ohio State. They followed that performance with a 308 (plus-20) later in the afternoon for a 611 on the day.

Zhang’s plus-6 effort ties her for 22nd with seven other golfers in the field of 75 competitors. The individual leader, Texas Christian’s Brooke Beeler, stands 12 strokes ahead of Zhang.

Senior So-Hyun Park and junior Becca Huffer are tied for 40th after finishing the day at 9-over par. Park shot a morning round of 77 and an afternoon 79, while Huffer opened with a 75 and closed with a 78, to both finish the day at 153.

Senior Katie Conway currently stands tied for 53rd with a 156 (plus-12), receiving a four-stroke penalty. Freshman Kristina Nhim rounds out the Irish scoring, tied for 62nd with a plus-14 158.

Zhang feels that the Irish will head into the third round feeling more confident and prepared than they did in the first two.

“We feel a lot more comfortable and I think we will finish off strong tomorrow,” Zhang said. “After the 10 hours on the course, we practiced our putting and chipping, so hopefully those areas of our game will improve for tomorrow’s round.”

The Irish will tee off the third and final round of the Central District Invitational at 8 a.m. Tuesday.