May 9, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame women's golf team piled up numerous program records during this weekend's NCAA South Bend Regional at the Warren Golf Course. In the end, each Fighting Irish player and coach would have traded every single record and milestone for six fewer strokes, the scant margin that wound up separating Notre Dame from a trip to the NCAA Championship.
The Fighting Irish carded a final-round 299 on Saturday and finished the three-day tournament at 30-over par 894 (302-293-299), good for eighth place in the 18-team field and their best finish in a NCAA regional since a fifth-place effort in the 2011 Central Regional. Notre Dame ended six shots behind Purdue for the sixth and final qualification spot into the NCAA finals, despite posting the lowest 54-hole score in a NCAA regional in program history, eclipsing the previous mark of 901, also set on the Warren Golf Course in 2011.
In addition, the Fighting Irish tallied two of the five lowest single-round scores in a NCAA regional in school annals this week. Only three other times in Notre Dame women's golf history have the Fighting Irish shot better than 300 in a single regional round -- 292 in the first round of the 2013 NCAA East Regional at Auburn, Alabama, and matching scores of 298 in the first and third rounds of the aforementioned 2011 regional.
Junior all-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection Talia Campbell (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) and sophomore Jordan Ferreira (University Place, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) were Notre Dame's top finishers at the NCAA South Bend Regional, tying for 19th place in the 96-golfer field at five-over par 221 (Campbell shooting 77-73-71, while Ferreira posted rounds of 73-72-76). It was fifth-best showing for Notre Dame on an individual regional leaderboard and best since both Nicole Zhang (eighth) and Kristina Nhim (14th) had top-20 showings in 2011.
Together, Campbell and Ferreira also shared the Fighting Irish record for the best 54-hole individual score at a NCAA regional, one stroke better than the previous mark held by Lindsey Weaver at the 2013 NCAA East Regional. What's more, Campbell's final-round 71 tied the program record for a single regional round, a score first registered by Zhang in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Central Regional and tied by Campbell herself in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA East Regional.
"We certainly had every opportunity to advance out of the regional -- we just didn't get the job done," Notre Dame head coach Susan Holt said. "We had some great individual rounds, but just couldn't get the four solid rounds we needed all three days. This stings a bit right now, knowing how close we were to advancing. Playing against competition like this really puts an emphasis on how every stroke really does matter."
Senior Kelli Oride (Lihue, Hawaii/Kauai) put a period on her college career with a tie for 34th place at the NCAA South Bend Regional, firing a nine-over par 225 (75-73-77). It was the veteran's best finish in four NCAA regional appearances, while her three single-round scores all were the best she has ever posted in NCAA regional competition.
Senior captain Ashley Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) likewise brought down the curtain on her time at Notre Dame with a 41st-place tie in the NCAA South Bend Regional at 11-over par 227 (77-75-75). Armstrong and Oride are two of four players in Fighting Irish history to compete in four NCAA regionals, helping lay the foundation for future program success.
Freshman Kari Bellville (Granger, Ind./Penn) wrapped up her rookie season under the Golden Dome with a tie for 72nd place at 17-over par 233 (78-77-78).
Defending NCAA champion Duke won this year's NCAA South Bend Regional at 873 (+9), three shots better than fellow ACC member Wake Forest. UC Davis (884), Arizona (886), Tulane (888) and Purdue (888) also qualified for the NCAA Championship from this week's regional at Notre Dame.
Duke's Leona Maguire (212) edged teammate Celine Boutier by one stroke for medalist honors at the NCAA South Bend Regional. The three individual qualifiers to come out of South Bend were Michaela Fletcher (Memphis), Leilanie Kim (Idaho) and Isabelle Johansson (Kentucky), with Johansson's par on the third playoff hole besting teammate Haley Mills' bogey. Kent State's Taylor Kim was ousted from the three-person playoff with a bogey on the second playoff hole (Johansson and Mills collected pars on their first two extra holes).
Notre Dame finished this season with a 296.60 stroke average, trimming more than two full strokes off the previous school record of 298.70 set in 2012-13. In addition, Campbell carded a 73.43 average this year, the second-lowest individual mark in program history (Weaver shot 72.71 in 2012-13) and one of three players on the 2014-15 Fighting Irish roster in the top six on the school's single-season stroke average chart. Armstrong ends this year with a 74.10 stroke average, good for fourth, while Ferreira's 74.56 figure stands sixth in the program record book.
Armstrong, a two-time team captain, two-time Academic All-America selection and recipient of this year's ACC Postgraduate Scholarship and the University's Byron V. Kanaley Award, capped off her remarkable college career this week with a 74.98 stroke average, third-best in Notre Dame history behind only Zhang (74.33 from 2010-11) and Campbell (currently at 74.67). Ferreira isn't far behind with a 75.39 career stroke average through her first two seasons, good for fifth in program annals, while Oride's 77.53 career stroke average goes down as the 12th-best mark on the Notre Dame scrolls.
Armstrong and Oride will graduate from Notre Dame during the University's Commencement exercises next weekend. Armstrong will receive her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, while Oride is set to earn her degree in finance from the Mendoza College of Business, with a minor in sustainability.
The Fighting Irish are expected to have three starters (Campbell, Ferreira and Bellville) and five veterans returning next season, along with a three-player incoming class that includes three of the nation's top 50 players, something only one other school in the country (Georgia) can match.
"This team had a great year and broke a lot of program records along the way," Holt said. "We have a great core of players returning, as well as an outstanding freshman class coming in, and we will look to regroup to try to make it back here (to the NCAA regionals) again next year."
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.
NCAA South Bend Regional
May 7-9, 2015
Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,301 yards)
Notre Dame, Ind.
FINAL TEAM SCORES (54-hole totals): 1. Duke 873 (288-289-296); 2. Wake Forest 876 (293-292-291); 3. UC Davis 884 (295-294-295); 4. Arizona 886 (294-292-300); 5. (tie) Tulane 888 (298-295-295) and Purdue 888 (299-283-306); 7. Kentucky 892 (301-301-290); 8. NOTRE DAME 894 (302-293-299); 9. Kent State 896 (296-302-298); 10. Harvard 899 (298-296-305); 11. Oklahoma State 900 (296-298-306); 12. Louisville 902 (305-296-301); 13. Pepperdine 904 (299-308-297); 14. North Carolina 915 (308-302-305); 15. Eastern Kentucky 916 (307-304-305); 16. San Jose State 918 (310-303-305); 17. Troy 923 (310-311-302); 18. Youngstown State 948 (311-322-315).
TOP NINE INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 96): 1. Leona Maguire (DU) 212 (72-68-72); 2. Celine Boutier (DU) 213 (67-72-74); 3. Lindsey Weaver (UA) 215 (71-70-74); 4. Allison Emrey (WF) 216 (71-74-71); 5. (tie) *Michaela Fletcher (UM) 217 (73-69-75), Blair Lewis (UCD) 217 (71-74-72) and Marissa Dodd (WF) 217 (70-73-74); 8. (tie) *Leilanie Kim (UI) 218 (75-73-70) and August Kim (PU) 218 (74-69-75); 19. (tie) Talia Campbell (ND) 221 (77-73-71) and Jordan Ferreira (ND) 221 (73-72-76); 34. (tie) Kelli Oride (ND) 225 (75-73-77); 41. (tie) Ashley Armstrong (ND) 227 (77-75-75); 72. (tie) Kari Bellville (ND) 233 (78-77-78).
* - competing as individual participant
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director