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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

ND earns berth in NCAA regional at Warren Golf Course

After a sixth-place showing at the ACC championships, Notre Dame earned the eight seed in the NCAA tournament’s South Bend regional to be hosted at Warren Golf Course on May 7-9.

The bid marks Notre Dame’s 10th overall trip to the NCAA regionals and also extends the program's streak of consecutive appearances to eight years.

The Irish finished in the top-10 of every tournament this season and finished sixth at the ACC championships with a 12-over-par score of 876. It rained the entire weekend, and conditions were less than ideal, but Notre Dame improved from its struggles at the Bryan National and managed the weather. Junior Talia Campbell again led the way for the Irish with an 11th place finish and score of 215 (71-72-72), and she was followed by freshman Kari Bellville and senior Ashley Armstrong, who both shot 220 and tied for 26th.

In order to advance to the NCAA championships in Bradenton, Florida, on May 22-27, the Irish must secure a top-six finish in the regional. They are seeded eighth out of 18 teams, and their regional includes four other conference foes: Second seed and defending national champion Duke, fourth-seeded Wake Forest, 11th-seeded Louisville, and North Carolina, which earned the 13th seed. Other teams in the regional include Oklahoma State, University of California-Davis, Pepperdine, Tulane, Purdue, Kent State and San Jose State, all ranked in the top 50 nationally. Kentucky, Harvard, Troy, Eastern Kentucky and Youngstown State — making its first NCAA regional appearance after winning the Horizon League championship — also join the 18-team field.

Topping the regional is Arizona, the Pac-12 champion led by Notre Dame transfer Lindsey Weaver. Weaver played her freshman season with the Irish, sharing medalist honors in the Big East tournament with Campbell. Weaver was also selected as Big East Women's Golfer of the Year during her one season with Notre Dame. Her 72.86 scoring average this year leads the Wildcats coming into the tournament.

Campbell leads the Irish in scoring, averaging 73.41 strokes per round this year. Armstrong (73.93), sophomore Jordan Ferreira (74.67), senior Kelli Oride (76.07) and Bellville (77.33) round out Notre Dame's tournament squad.

The current forecast calls for more rain during the regional, and by now the Irish are as prepared as any team in the field for it, having played many rounds in damp conditions.

Warren Golf Course will be the site of an NCAA regional for the second time in its history, the first being the Central Regional in 2011. Notre Dame earned its first-ever trip to the NCAA championship after finishing fifth in the regional round that year.

The tournament will consist of 54 holes of play over three days. A practice round will be played May 6 while tournament action will commence May 7. The top six teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to the NCAA championships in Bradenton, Florida, on May 22-27 at Concession Golf Club.