Notre Dame, Ind. -- If Becca Huffer’s round-of-32 match against Martina Gavier of Argentina is a prelude to the dramatics in South Bend these days, then a certain football team" />
Lot To Build On For Notre Dame's Huffer

Local Favorite Plays to Win


The luck of the Irish was not with Notre Dame's Becca Huffer in the second round of match play at the 2010 WAPL. Huffer, playing on her university's home course, dropped an extra-hole decision to No. 2 seed Martina Gavier of Argentina on Thursday. (Robert Walker/USGA)
By Andrew Blair
June 24, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. -- If Becca Huffer’s round-of-32 match against Martina Gavier of Argentina is a prelude to the dramatics in South Bend these days, then a certain football team occupying an adjacent plot of land has a higher standard to meet this fall than initially anticipated.

Huffer, a Notre Dame junior, appearing relaxed and totally unfazed while playing to the cheers of an ever-swelling home crowd, led for much of a crisp Thursday morning encounter against the second-seeded Gavier before eventually falling in 20 holes.

Never mind that the match featured lead changes right down to the very last moments. Huffer, playing inspired and solid golf, exchanged giggles with her teammate Anne Brophie nearly the whole way. One wonders if Huffer, a Denver, Colo., resident, was even trying to bring a laugh to the rather intense-looking Leprechaun that doubles as the headcover on her driver.  

She nearly put a smile on the crowd’s face at the match’s conclusion. Huffer, steady in a survive-and-advance match-play environment, won the first two holes and parred the first 11 of the match to build a 2-up advantage through 13 holes until Gavier charged back. The feisty senior from Kent State responded by holing a tricky right-breaking 20-footer at No. 14, squared the match one hole later by knocking in a 25-footer and took her first lead at No. 16 after Huffer’s approach flew the green.

Despite trailing for the first time going to the par-5 17th, Huffer showed the calm of an air traffic controller, escaping tangly rough off the tee before returning the match to square after her opponent missed a 7-footer for par. For good measure, Huffer calmly rolled in her birdie chance, springing her way to the hole, as energetic as a performer going on stage for the first time at Carnegie Hall.

After blistering drives at Nos. 18 and the first extra hole, Huffer mis-hit iron shots and both players  manufactured halves before Gavier closed the escape hatch at the 20th hole, the par-4 second. There, she knocked in a 16-footer from the fringe after Huffer’s birdie chance missed by an eyelash.  A match that produced a loser in name only ended in a worthy manner.

“I had a few missed shots here and there. I was hitting my driver a lot better today and had a lot of great up and downs,” said Huffer, who estimated she missed only three fairways the entire match. “She made some good birdies – there’s not much you can do about that. She just kept firing at the [flagsticks]. She’s tough.”

Huffer, the 2008 Colorado high school female athlete of the year, was heavily recruited nationally out of high school and is the highest-profile junior golfer to attend Notre Dame. This week's WAPL was just a continuation of an already-impressive résumé and added confidence to her game. Steadier than ever with her game, as a sophomore, Huffer finished out of the top-20 only once during the 2009-10 college campaign. This year, improved results have come from staying away from the roller-coaster ride of big numbers that can accompany the pressure of putting pencil to paper on the scorecard.

“It’s certainly something that we talk about and work on. She knows that if she wants to get to the next level, she has to get past the ‘blips’ – because you’re going to have them,” says Susan Holt, the women’s golf coach at Notre Dame. “You have to know you are a good enough player that you can make it up and get it back. She’s doing a good job with it.”

And Huffer’s supposed advantage on the Warren Golf Course wasn’t as pronounced as one might initially think.

“I think she played awesome,” Holt says. The layout will be an NCAA regional site next year. “With our schedule, we don’t play this golf course that much. In the fall, when the course is the nicest, we’re travelling. In the spring, because of the weather, sometimes we don’t get out until April. I think she’s enjoyed coming out here to play this course for four rounds and she got some good practice on it.”

Huffer’s first appearance in match play at the WAPL, or in any USGA championship for that matter, accompanied by an opening round win, has its own rewards.           

“Both matches – both rounds – were really good matches; holes were won with birdies,” said Huffer, an industrial design major who owns a 3.3-plus grade-point average while balancing the demands of golf and travel. “It’s the way I like to play match play and it was fun being out here – with the home crowd. It was fun. I really enjoyed it a lot.”

And there are a lot of gold-plated positives to take from going 20 holes. Wimbledon anyone?

“Oh, crazy,” Huffer laughed at the suggestion. American John Isner survived a 70-68 fifth-set marathon in a first-round match at the All England Club that carried over three days. “Are they done yet?”

After today, onlookers appreciate that Huffer’s climb is just starting.

Andrew Blair is the communications director for the Virginia State Golf Association. He is contributing articles at this week's WAPL for the USGA.

     

THE RULES OF GOLF APP
Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image