ND Women’s Golf
Holt ready to lead team to success in spring opener
Colin Capece | Monday, February 18, 2019
In the midst of typical South Bend winter conditions, Notre Dame will head south to open its spring season Monday at the Moon Invitational at the Duran Golf Club in Melbourne, Florida.
The Irish will look to build off a strong fall season in which the team captured three top-10 tournament finishes. The golfers have been working hard in the offseason to prepare for a spring season where they will compete in four major tournaments as well as the ACC championship.
“We definitely had things to work on and improve upon during our offseason. I think that the girls have done a really good job of keying in on things they all needed to work on,” head coach Susan Holt said. “We looked at some of their individual stats at the end of the fall season and zeroed in on some areas that were deficient. Those are the areas we are keying on to hopefully improve their scores this spring.”
After missing the NCAA regionals in 2017, the Irish returned to the tournament in 2018 after a strong spring season. This spring, seeking their 11th regional appearance in the last 12 seasons, the team will look to do more of the same.
“Down the stretch, just need to do the little things right, pay attention to detail,” Holt said. “This is a talented group, and they are excited to play. If they take care of the little things, they will put themselves in a great position moving forward.”
The road to the NCAA regional runs through the ACC championship at the end of April. The Irish traditionally face top-caliber competition in the ACC, and this year certainly won’t be an exception. After the conclusion of the fall season, five teams from the conference were ranked in the Women’s Golf Coaches Association top 25. Holt knows that her team will be tested once again, but is confident the team will be prepared.
“The ACC is typically one of the top three conferences for women’s golf. It’s super competitive, and we’re going to have to be ready for it. We’ve got a lot of tournaments between now and then that I think will help us prepare for that event,” Holt said. “We’re also going back to a course [Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina,] that we’ve been away from for the last few years but have had some success at in the past. I’m excited to get back to that venue because I think it will set up well for us.”
The Irish will enter tournament play with an experienced group of golfers that includes junior Mia Ayer and seniors Emma Albrecht, Isabella DiLisio and Maddie Rose Hamilton. Holt explained that their leadership will be key to Notre Dame’s success this season.
“They certainly lead by example and are very committed, dedicated, and hardworking. They’re also very supportive and very encouraging of their teammates, which I think is huge,” Holt said. “To a large extent is a tough mental game, and I think when you can get support and encouragement from your teammates, it’s huge for the team’s confidence.”
However, sophomore Abby Heck, who shot a team low round for the fall at the Schooner Classic, had a particularly strong fall that she will look to build on this spring.
“Abby came in last year as a freshman and had a really solid year for us, and this past fall she was able to pick up where she left off. She’s very focused, business-like and efficient with her practice time,” Holt said.
Freshman Claire Albrecht also impressed Holt by making an immediate impact for the Irish this fall.
“I thought Claire did a great job coming in as a freshman. Typically the way our team is structured, freshman are expected to come in and play. She not only did that, but she did that very well. I’m excited for her to have the opportunity to continue that into the spring,” she said.
With the cold temperatures that are currently persisting here at Notre Dame, it is difficult for golfers to get the outdoor practice time they need to be ready for the spring season. Thankfully for the Irish, all of the players were able to golf in warmer climates over the winter break.
“Most of the girls fortunately either live or were able to go somewhere warm to practice over the winter break and get a jump start on their spring,” Holt said. “We also have a really great indoor practice facility here on campus that allows us to get quality practice in every day.”
The team also took a trip to West Palm Beach last weekend to play together before they head to Melbourne on Friday.
“We got three really good days of practice in. It was great to actually get out and play a full three rounds of golf ahead of the first tournament and knock some of the rust off,” Holt said.
The Irish begin their season on Monday in Melbourne before they head to Peoria, Arizona, to play in the Westbrook Invitational the following weekend.