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ND Women’s Golf: Irish take on tough course, tough opponent

Matt Unger | Thursday, October 27, 2011

Through three tournaments this fall, the Irish have struggled to build on last season’s success, which led them to the first NCAA Championship appearance in program history. The rocky start, which included a last place finish at the Tar Heel Invitational on Oct. 8, has dropped Notre Dame from the Golf World/NGCA coaches’ poll rankings.

In their last outing until March 2, the Irish will have a chance to conclude their fall schedule on a positive note as they return to North Carolina for the Landfall Tradition this weekend.

The competition will again be tough for the Irish. Fourth-ranked North Carolina leads the competitive 18-team field, which also includes No. 5 Auburn and No. 12 Duke.

The three-round tournament will be played Friday through Sunday at the Nicklaus Course in Wilmington, N.C., with the Tar Heels serving as hosts. The difficult course was designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, who in addition to his legendary pro career has designed close to 300 golf courses.

“This particular Nicklaus course is very demanding off the tee,” Irish coach Susan Holt said. “You have to be very accurate or you will find yourself in bunkers, trees or water. The greens are very large, putting a premium on accuracy hitting into the greens.”

Notre Dame will look to build on its success in the first two rounds of the Hoosier Fall Invitational on Oct. 17-18. The team held a four-stroke lead entering the final round of play. But, three players shot scores of 80 or higher on the final day, dropping the Irish to second place, still just one stroke behind Eastern Michigan.

“The final round we were not playing well overall, but each player has to assume they are going to count and they have to play hard to the final putt,” Holt said. “They have to find a way to post a solid round even when they are having an off day.”

Senior captain Becca Huffer shined for the Irish, winning the individual first place with four-over-par for the tournament overall.

Despite the team’s struggles at the end of the tournament, Huffer posted a one-under-par performance in her final round. According to Holt the win bolstered the senior’s confidence and should bode well for the season. 

“Becca’s win was well deserved,” Holt said. “She now knows she can win and I look for her to contend more in the future.”

The Irish will resume tournament play at the start of March when they compete in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in Hilton Head, S.C. The team will play in four tournaments during the month to make up the spring portion of its schedule.

In their final fall tournament, the Irish will tee off Friday morning at the Nicklaus Course at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.

Contact Matt Unger at [email protected]