Perhaps no player was more thrilled with her round Monday than Nicole Zhang, 18, of Canada. Zhang shot an even-par 71 and was particularly happy because Warren Golf Course, the championship site, is where she’ll play a lot of golf next year as a member of the Notre Dame women’s golf team.
Nicole’s brother, Dustin, is a member of the Notre Dame men’s team. Nicole, who has qualified for the upcoming U.S. Women’s Open, was with the early wave of players who sat out a 1 ½ hour weather delay.
“About 40 of us, players, caddies, friends and parents, waited it out in the varsity team facility, which the Notre Dame team uses,” Zhang said. “We ate a lot. My friend’s mom had oranges, chips and cookies, so those gave me energy and made me happy too.”
Zhang hit 17 greens Monday but familiarity with Warren G.C. wasn’t a factor. Until this weekend’s practice rounds, she had played only a few holes here when she made an informal visit to see the school. Her parents are here and her mother, Jen, is her caddie.
“She lines up my shots for me and makes me laugh,” said Nicole. “Today was cool. I feel good about going into tomorrow. I’ve been playing pretty solid.”