ND WOMEN'S GOLF: Challenge awaits Irish at Shoot-out
After a disappointing fourth place finish among a less competitive field at its home course last week, the Notre Dame women's golf team is faced with an even tougher challenge at this week's par 72, 5874-yard Shoot-out at the Legends Tournament in Franklin, Ind.
"This is probably one of the toughest fields we're going to have," said coach Debbie King.
The competition includes Indiana, Kent State, Purdue and Penn State. Just by the numbers, the competition seems formidable. Golfweek rated Kent State 23rd, Purdue 35th, Indiana 36th and Penn State 42nd in its performance ratings. The publication ranked Notre Dame 93rd.
"I don't think any of us were [pleased with last weekends performance]," King said. "We were rather disappointed."
In order to prevent another disappointing finish the Irish have worked very hard at practice this week and have made some changes to their line-up.
"We have had very conductive practices," King said. "Half of the team was qualifying. Half of the them were practicing."
Today's line-up will consist of Lotta, sophomore Shannon Byrnes, senior Kristin McMurtrie, senior Lauren Fuchs and sophomore Jeanne Murphy. Fuchs replaces junior Terri Taibl.
King believes that for the most part that all of the golfers are equal in capability. The line-up was determined by the strength of the golfers' play at the Notre Dame Invitational last weekend.
"I let the numbers speak for themselves," King said.
With the new line-up and intensive practices, the Irish want to bring home a win. Freshman Karen Lotta, who led the Irish last weekend with her ninth place finish is optimistic about this week's tournament.
"I think we can perform to our potential this tournament," said Lotta, who was winner of the California southern section golf title as a high school senior. "We're ready now. We're back into the groove of things after our first tournament."
King is confident in Lotta's ability to put last week's low finish behind her.
"Lotta doesn't let anything bother her," King said. "She's a go-getter."
At the Notre Dame Invitational last weekend, Lotta fired 85, 79 and 80 to finish with a 54-hole total of 244. Byrne finished a place behind the freshman, with a total of 246. The rest of the top five finished in 16th, 25th, and 36th places at their home course —which hurt the Irish.
Because of the numbers and the strength of the competition, the Shoot-out will pose a considerable challenge to the Irish.
"You wouldn't be much of a coach if you didn't say they could win every time they go out there," King said. "But I will say ... the field is much tougher than the field we had for our own tournament [last week]."
All Sports Stories for Monday, October 8, 2001