Oct. 26, 2014
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The University of Notre Dame women's golf team won't play another tournament for four months -- plenty of time for the Fighting Irish to savor one of the signature performances in program history.
Playing in a field that featured 10 of the nation's top 25 teams at the Landfall Tradition, Notre Dame rose to the challenge on Sunday afternoon, charging to a third-place finish at seven-over par 871 (290-292-289) on the difficult Pete Dye Course (par 72/6,159 yards) at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The Fighting Irish closed out their fall season in impressive style, defeating eight Top 25 opponents at the Landfall Tradition (No. 4 Duke, No. 9 Arizona, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 16 North Carolina State, No. 18 Virginia, No. 19 UCF and No. 21 Ohio State), and tying a ninth (No. 1 South Carolina). What's more, Notre Dame posted the fifth-lowest score in school history, both gross total and with relation to par.
Wake Forest took top honors with a tournament-record 864, four strokes better than Alabama. In a reflection of the power in this weekend's Landfall Tradition field, the top eight teams all carded final scores of 876 or better, a mark that would have won the tournament championship in all but one of the 12 previous years the event has been played (Alabama shot 867 last year).
Notre Dame's result this weekend was even more notable, considering the Fighting Irish were just one week removed from a frustrating 10th-place finish at the 16-team Mercedes-Benz Championship in Knoxville, Tennessee. At that event, Notre Dame faced many of the same teams it saw at the Landfall Tradition, including top-20 teams South Carolina (trailed by 46 shots at Mercedes-Benz; tied at Landfall), Tennessee (trailed by 32 shots at Mercedes-Benz; won by 14 shots at Landfall) and UCF (trailed by 24 shots at Mercedes-Benz; won by 10 shots at Landfall).
"We have had some great wins and great scores in my time at Notre Dame, but this ranks right up there," ninth-year Fighting Irish head coach Susan Holt said. "This was an NCAA regional-quality field we played in this weekend and we held our own. It was a great team effort and I'm really proud of how the team responded after the disappointment of last week."
Senior captain Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) couldn't have picked a better time for her best performance of the fall, tying for eighth place with a career low-tying one-under par 215 (69-75-71). The two-time Academic All-America selection matched her personal-best score from the 2013 Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate (a tournament she won) and collected her seventh career top-10 showing, as well as her second this year (she placed ninth at the season-opening Mary Fossum Invitational).
Armstrong actually was poised for a top-five finish on Sunday after making the turn at four-under par, but a bogey and a double-bogey (the latter on No. 4, her 16th hole of the round) slowed her surge. Still, it was only a small quibble on a weekend performance that had the Fighting Irish veteran beaming.
"This was a great way to end the fall for our team," Armstrong said. "Our performance at Tennessee motivated us to finish strong here in Wilmington. We took advantage of the opportunity and were able to get a tremendous result with a third-place finish against an outstanding field.
"My driver is really long and consistent right now, which is a lot different than it was in the first few tournaments," she added. "My putting also was working today, although I wish I could have held on at four-under."
Sophomore Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) also will steam into the winter months with a great deal of momentum after tying for 16th place this weekend at two-over par 218 (72-72-74). Ferreira looked sharp in her final eight rounds of the fall, going under par three times and shooting 74 or lower six times.
Senior Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii/Kauai) was likely the poster child for Notre Dame's turnaround performance this weekend, erasing the memory of last week's 80th-place finish at the Mercedes-Benz Championship with a poised and confident tie for 24th place at the Landfall Tradition. Oride earned her third top-25 finish this season, and 12th of her career, with a four-over par 220 (74-74-72), punctuating her final round on Sunday with an eagle at Landfall's par-four No. 5, her 17th hole of the afternoon.
Oride's eagle wasn't the only one of the day for the Fighting Irish. Junior Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) capped off her recovery from a tough opening round to tie for 41st place at six-over par 222 (78-72-72), fueled in no small part by an eagle on the par-five No. 18 (her 10th hole of the round). With the exception of her uncharacteristic first round at Landfall, following a final-round 80 at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Campbell was Notre Dame's leader during the fall season with a 73.50 stroke average (72.40 without the two aforementioned rounds).
Freshman Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) concluded her first fall season at the college level with a tie for 69th place at this weekend's Landfall Tradition, carding a 12-over par 228 (75-74-79).
"We'll take this weekend's positive performance into the spring, having total confidence and knowing we can compete with the best in the country," Armstrong said. "I can't wait for the spring season and I'm just so proud of my teammates."
The Fighting Irish return to action on Feb. 22-23, 2015, in the Westbrook Spring Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin at the Westbrook Village Golf Club in Peoria, Arizona.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's golf program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's golf Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @NDwomensGolf) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
Oct. 26, 2014 -- Final Round
Country Club of Landfall-Pete Dye Course (par 72/6,159 yards)
FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. Wake Forest 864 (286-289-289); 2. Alabama 868 (290-290-288); 3. (tie) NOTRE DAME 871 (290-292-289) and South Carolina 871 (293-287-291); 5. Virginia 872 (292-286-294); 6. Oklahoma State 873 (290-285-298); 7. (tie) Duke 876 (293-293-290) and Purdue 876 (283-295-298); 9. Florida 877 (288-292-297); 10. (tie) Arizona 881 (293-299-289) and UCF 881 (289-294-298); 12. North Carolina State 884 (301-290-293); 13. Tennessee 885 (292-292-301); 14. North Carolina 889 (292-299-298); 15. Ohio State 892 (292-301-299); 16. UNC Wilmington 913 (315-298-300); 17. Michigan State 914 (315-303-296); 18. Penn State 924 (308-316-300).
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 99): 1. Ashley Holder (UCF) 209 (67-70-72); 2. Nanna Madsen (USC) 210 (66-72-72); 3. Emma Talley (ALA) 211 (69-71-71); 4. (tie) Lakareber Abe (ALA) 213 (70-74-69), Allison Emrey (WFU) 213 (72-69-72) and Elizabeth Szokol (UVA) 213 (69-73-71); 7. Leona Maguire (DUKE) 214 (72-72-70); 8. (tie) Ashley Armstrong (ND) 215 (69-75-71), Lindsay McGetrick (NCST) 215 (71-72-72) and A.J. Newell (UT) 215 (68-73-74); 16. (tie) Jordan Ferreira (ND) 218 (72-72-74); 24. (tie) Kelli Oride (ND) 220 (74-74-72); 41. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) 222 (78-72-72); 69. (tie) Kari Bellville (ND) 228 (75-74-79).
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director