Irish look to improve at weekend invitational
By CHRIS FEDERICO
The Irish golf team will leave the icy links of South Bend and travel to Williamsburg, Virginia this weekend to compete in the William and Mary Invitational.
The Irish got off to a slow start earlier this year at the Carolina's Collegiate Classic in late February, finishing last in a field of 22 teams. However, they were competing against many Southern and East Coast teams that have the advantage of playing golf nearly year-round. In Northern Indiana, the Irish are forced to spend most of the winter hitting indoors or training in the weight room while Southern teams are gaining real playing experience on the course.
The team has begun to bounce back, however, as shown by its progress in the Snowbird Invitational held in Tampa. In this second tournament, the team placed a respectable ninth in the field of 17 teams.
Their success in the tournament was mostly evident in the way they placed as individuals.
Four players placed in the top 20, led by freshman Shannon Byrne and sophomore Terri Taibl who finished in a tie for 12th place with a two-round score of 158. Close behind were senior captain Shane Smith and sophomore
Shelby Strong,who tied for a seventeenth place finish with scores of 160.
Byrne has been extremely impressive this spring season, earning top team honors in both of the first two tournaments. Her sudden success, along with strong play from her teammates, has taken some of the pressure off of the senior Smith, who lead the team in the fall season with a team-low 79.82 scoring average.
As the Irish move through the season, they look to improve their performance in each tournament. The team really has an opportunity to make a name for itself as a contender in the NCAA Central Region with a solid outing this weekend in Virginia. Many of the teams in Notre Dame's region will be participating in this tournament, including the host team and favorite William and Mary.
This contest is the first of three in a row that will be very important for the Irish in regional play, traveling to Indiana University next weekend and then to the University of Illinois the following weekend.
All Sports Stories for Friday, March 30, 2001