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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Notre Dame finishes strong, SMU takes title at Clover Cup

   Notre Dame, ranked 27th by Golfweek, had a disappointing start as the host for the Notre Dame Clover Cup at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz., but a fast finish Sunday will give the Irish a little something extra to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day week.
   Notre Dame had three sub-par rounds in the final round in equaling the day’s second-best team score at 285 to finish fourth in the final team standings at 10-over 874. And the Irish were just a shot behind third-place finisher Oklahoma.
   But no team in the field was a match for 44th-ranked Southern Methodist University, which might be on the move upward in the rankings after this performance. The Mustangs got a pair of 68s over the 6,184-yard, par-72 Longbow layout from Jenny Haglund, a senior from Sweden, and Lindsey McCurdy, a junior from Kyle, Texas, as they ripped off a tournament low 7-under 281 in the final round.
   SMU had trailed 42nd-ranked Texas Christian University by a shot after each of the first two rounds, but its sizzling final round enabled the Mustangs to finish at 6-under 858, eight shots clear of the Horned Frogs, who posted a solid 2-over 290 to finish at 2-over 866.
   In addition to the final-round heroics from Haglund and McCurdy, the Mustangs also got an even-par 72 from Brigette Dunne, a freshman from Camarillo, Calif., and a 1-over 73 from Katie Page, a junior from Louisville, Ky.
   SMU ended up with four players in the top 12 in the individual standings as Haglund finished fifth at 3-under 213, Dunne finished tied for 10th at 1-over 217 and Page and McCurdy were in the group tied for 12th at 2-over 218.
   Despite seeing the team title slip away, TCU did end up with the individual champion as Brooke Graebe, a freshman from Yorba Linda, Calif., tacked on a final-round 71 to her first two rounds of 67 and 72 for a 6-under 210 total.
   Oklahoma’s Rylee Pedigo, a sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas, had a final round of 2-under 70 to finish a shot back of Graebe at 5-under 211. Pedigo led the way for the Sooners, who had a final-round 292 to hold off Notre Dame for third place at 9-over 873.
   South Florida’s Nicole Autrique, a junior from Mexico, and University of North Carolina-Wilmington’s Annette Lyche, a senior from Norway, shared third place at 4-under 211. Autrique, who shared the opening-round lead with Graebe with a 67, had a 73 in the final round. Lyche, who owned the lead following a second-round 67, finished up with a 74.
   Florida International’s Meghan MacLaren, a senior from England, got a share of fifth place with SMU’s Haglund at 3-under 213. MacLaren had a final-round 72 and led FIU to fifth place in the team standings at 878, four shots back of Notre Dame. FIU matched Notre Dame’s 3-under 285 team total for the final round.
   It was a really strong finish for the host Irish, who have traditionally fared well since they started hosting this event in the desert and had high hopes in their second tournament of the spring following their history-making start to the season last fall.
   Maddie Rose Hamilton, a freshman from Louisville, Ky., fired a 3-under 69 (by the way, assuming there is only one Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, there’s a pretty good chance Hamilton was a high school teammate of SMU’s Page at some point), and Talia Campbell, a senior from Dallas, and Emma Albrecht, a freshman from Ormond Beach, Fla., both carded 2-under 70s.
   Isabella DiLisio, a freshman who won the 2013 PIAA Class AAA title at Mount St. Joseph, and Jordan Ferreira, a junior from University Place, Wash., both had 76 Sunday, so take your pick of those two for Notre Dame’s final team score.
   Campbell’s 70 enabled her to finish ninth in the individual standings at even-par 216. Albrecht moved into a tie for 12th at 218, Hamilton surged into a tie for 17th at 220 and Ferreira and DiLisio were in the group tied for 32nd at 226.
   I’m sure it was a bit of a disappointing finish over the weekend individually for DiLisio, who opened with a 1-under 71 Friday. But make no mistake about it, DiLisio and her fellow freshmen, Albrecht and Hamilton, have already taken the Notre Dame program to new heights and they’re just getting started.
   Plus, DiLisio probably got to visit with some of her former Pennsylvania scholastic rivals playing for Penn State, particularly freshman Jackie Rogowicz, the former Pennsbury standout who was the runnerup to DiLisio at the 2013 state tournament and was a two-time District One champion.
   Denise St. Pierre’s Nittany Lions had a final-round 304 to finish ninth at 910, although they saw Nebraska sneak past them by a shot with a final-round 299 and a 909 total in the battle for low Big Ten finisher.
   Penn State was led Sunday by Ariana Coyle Diez, a sophomore from Ireland who fired a 1-under 71 and finished in a tie for 32nd at 10-over 226.
   Then came the three freshmen that St. Pierre managed to keep home in Pennsylvania. Rogowicz had a 79 to finish tied for 40th at 228, Cara Basso, the 2012 PIAA Class AA champion as a sophomore at Villa Maria Academy, had a second straight 75 to finish in a tie for 45th at 231, and Canon-McMillan product Lauren Waller, who lost in a playoff to Radnor’s Brynn Walker for the 2014 PIAA Class AAA title, had an 80 to finish in a tie for 49th at 232.
   Grace Chung, a senior from Canada, had a final-round 79 for the Nittany Lions to finish in a tie for 59th at 234. Chung’s fellow senior, Halley Morell, of Brecksville, Ohio, teed it up at Longbow as an individual and was Penn State’s best player in Mesa. Morell had a second straight 74 and finished in a tie for 26th at 8-over 224, the second-best total among the individual entrants.
   Also competing individually was Notre Dame sophomore Alison Snakard, a teammate of DeLisio’s at Mount St. Joseph. Snakard had a final-round 81 and finished in a tie for 79th at 242.

   If you want to contact me with some blog-worthy golf information as I continue to negotiate my way through my post-Delco Daily Times life, you can email me at chaseutfan@gmail.com and I will provide alerts when I post to the blog at my new Twitter handle @Tmacgolf16.

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