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Friday, Feb. 23, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame opens spring season with third-place finish

No. 32 Notre Dame traveled to Peoria, Arizona this weekend for the Westbrook Spring Invitational, where it finished tied for third with a 54-hole score of 868, good for four strokes over par.

The Westbrook Spring Invitational was the first action the Irish have seen since late October when they finished the Landfall Tradition in third place. Irish coach Susan Holt said she was satisfied with the Notre Dame's third-place finish 

“I thought the team did really well overall,” Holt said. “I thought it was a great team showing. There are certainly things we can work on and improve upon, but overall, I was very pleased with the scores and results. It was a great way to pick up where we left off from the fall and continue our great play.”

The big story of the weekend for the Irish was overcoming illness. Both senior captain Ashley Armstrong and sophomore Jordan Ferreira were seriously ill in the days leading up to the tournament, yet both still managed to finish in the top 12 overall for the tournament.

Armstrong was the leading scorer for the Irish, as she finished with a one-under-par 215. Armstrong’s score put her in a tie for 10th place for the tournament, her third top-10 finish of the season. Holt said Armstrong’s performance was especially impressive considering Armstrong's illness prior to the tournament.

“[Armstrong] actually ended up getting a stomach virus,” Holt said. “She was really sick on Saturday during the practice round, she ended up in the emergency room Saturday night. She got about five hours of sleep and went out and played 36 holes [Sunday] and 18 holes [Monday]. It’s just a tribute to her commitment and her dedication to her team. Taking that background information into account, she did a great job.”

Ferreira also factored into the Notre Dame's finish despite her illness, as she finished the tournament with a career-best, even-par 216. Ferreira’s score put her in 12th place for the tournament and Holt said she is proud of Ferreira for playing through illness.

“Jordan has diagnosed with bronchitis on Wednesday and had an asthma attack Friday night,” Holt said. “These are just two great kids who fought really hard and got through the weekend and I couldn’t be more happy and proud of them for stepping up. There were there for their teammates.”

At the Invitational, the Irish faced a number of nationally-ranked teams including tournament champion No. 14 Tennessee, No. 35 Oregon, No. 40 Ohio St. and No. 42 Wisconsin. Holt said that playing against some of the top teams in the country is beneficial for the team.

“We try to play the most competitive schedule that we can,” Holt said. “I think its important for our players to never have a false sense of where they stand nationally. Typically, when you’re playing against better competition, it’s going to elevate your game and our kids have responded really well to that this year.”

Looking forward, Holt said she hopes to get in some good practice rounds before the team’s next meet.

“We’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing,” Holt said. “We’re not going to change anything. I think what we’ve done this past winter has served us well. We’ll go back to snowy South Bend and work on a few things and come back out [to Arizona] and get in some quality practices.”

The Irish return to Arizona in a few weeks for the next tournament, the Clover Cup, at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa. Play will start on March 13 and finish two days later.