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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
The Observer

Irish finish eighth at loaded Schooner Classic

It's not often a team in eighth place walks off a golf course with as much to be pleased about as No. 36 Notre Dame did Monday at the Schooner Fall Classic in Norman, Oklahoma.

That's because the Irish not only defeated No. 13 LSU and No. 26 Florida State, they also broke the program record for score over 54 holes. Junior Talia Campbell led the way and made her own contribution to the record books, shooting the second-best individual score in team history.

Mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures all weekend made Belmar Golf Course an ideal place for Notre Dame's historic performance, but also allowed the rest of the field to post low scores, led by No. 15 Mississippi State, who went 22 strokes under par as a team.

After a rough first-day score of 290, the Irish were tied for seventh place. The team had a dramatic drop on day two, cutting their score to 277, the best 18-hole mark in the program's 29-year history. Despite this, Notre Dame entered the final day of competition still in seventh place. On Monday, the squad kept its momentum and posted a team score of 279, the second-best single-round score in Irish history.

Although the Irish dropped a spot in the standings to finish tied for eighth, they were just four shots removed from fourth-place finisher Kent State.

Campbell was one of three Irish golfers to establish personal bests over 54 holes, including senior Kelli Oride and freshman Kari Bellville. All three shot 215 or lower and placed in the top 40. Oride in particular surpassed her best 18-hole, 32-hole and 54-hole career scores.

Campbell, who has won a conference crown and travelled to the NCAA regional meet for the Irish, was at her best on the second day of the invitational, firing five birdies en route to a four-under-par score of 66, the best single-round mark in program history.

All told, four of the five athletes in Notre Dame's lineup had at least one round below par. Senior captain Ashely Armstrong chipped in two of these rounds after starting the tourney with an eight-over-par mark of 78 in round one. She followed this up with two straight scores of 69, despite bogeying three holes on the front nine Monday.

The Schooner Fall Classic also presented the Irish with one of the toughest fields for the fall season and prepared them for the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Championship in Knoxville, Tennessee. Notre Dame faced nine ranked squads, including No. 2 Arkansas, who finished in second place this weekend.

In Knoxville, the Irish will face the No. 9 hosts and try to improve upon their seventh-place finish at the tournament. Play begins Oct. 17 and continues all weekend.