Good to be Irish at Women’s Publinks

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Becca Huffer might not be a local in the true sense of the word, but this week at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, Huffer might as well be.

A rising junior at Notre Dame, Huffer has experience on her side at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame. She knows where the trouble is and, maybe more importantly, knows where she can get up and down from if she does need a clutch recovery.

“This is our home course where we play quite a bit, so it’s probably the course I’ve played the most ever, so it’s fun to be here and just getting to play it just for like a real tournament and everything,” she said.

Huffer delivered a 4-and-3 routing to Rollins’ Joanna Coe Wednesday afternoon to advance to the Round of 32. She capped the match with what she calls the best shot of the day, a 7-iron hit from 150 yards to 6 inches for a tap-in birdie at the par-4 15th.

“I played really well today, was hitting some good shots into greens,” said Huffer, who admitted she struggled on the greens during the first two days of stroke play.

Huffer isn’t the only player with a special tie to this year’s WAPL venue. Notre Dame commits Nicole Zhang (2010) and Kelli Oride (2011) also are in the field, and the three Irish played their practice rounds together earlier in the week.

Zhang beat Kristin Paulson, 2 and 1, in Wednesday’s matches while Kelli Oride knocked off Kent State’s Shamira Marshall, 2 and 1.

This is Oride’s first-ever WAPL, and she was so excited to play in South Bend that she put up a 70 at a qualifer near her home in Lihue, Hawaii, taking medalist honors by two shots.

“I think (the course is) better when it’s dry, but I really like it,” Oride said of her future home course. “It’s pretty challenging, it’s not too long but there’s some tricky holes. It has great character to it.”

Huffer can tell Oride that the Warren Course will play a little harder on a daily basis than it is this week, as a few of the holes have been shortened for the tournament. As for that rough?

“The rough is usually pretty thick, at least when we have nice weather,” Huffer explained.

Spoken like a true local.

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