The Irish hope to carry the momentum they gained winning the John Kirk Intercollegiate Invitational March 21 and 22 to the 39th Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic Friday in Athens, Ga.
The tournament, one of the most unique intercollegiate events in the country, is hosted by the University of Georgia and features five top-10 teams in the 23-team field.
“We’re all really excited about this tournament and being part of one of the best tournament fields of the year,” senior captain Katie Conway said. “It presents a great opportunity for us to pick up wins against many top-ranked schools.”
Among Notre Dame’s competition are defending champions and third-ranked Alabama, along with No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Purdue, No. 6 LSU and No. 7 Virginia. There are also seven other top-25 teams entered in the tournament.
Georgia’s course will also present a challenge for the confident Irish.
“Coming off a win, we are all feeling confident and more prepared as a result for this week,” Conway said. “The University of Georgia’s golf course is one that you need to stay focused on and choose your targets well, because with its large, undulating greens, it is that much more important to position yourself well.”
This year’s Classic is special and different than years past because it features new playing and scoring methods. Traditionally, teams are scored by three golfers from different schools playing together. In this tournament, five players from each team will compete together. Coming off a stellar performance for the Irish this weekend will be junior Becca Huffer, who was named the Big East Women’s Golfer of the Week. Seniors So-Hyun Park and Conway will also be competing, and will be joined by freshmen Nicole Zhang and Kristina Nhim.
“This tournament is different than others because we are all playing together, which will be a first for all of us in our college golf careers,” Conway said. “Playing together presents the opportunity for us to feed off of each other and keep each other up and motivated throughout our rounds.”
The tournament’s scoring method is atypical as well. The 54-hole, 72-par course features one round of play each day. Typically, the four best scores at the end of each round are counted. In this competition, the four best scores from each hole will count towards the final score.
“The tournament is still being scored the same way for [ranking purposes], but there will be a separate competition taking place to determine who takes home the trophy,” Conway said.
The Irish tee off today in Athens.