Tom Batters
Abby Ferlmann

Abby Ferlmann, who started playing golf when she was just four years old, said she still remembers toddling behind her father, Tom, on the golf course.

“I played around in the sand traps, mostly,” she said, laughing. “But, it was fun.”

Ferlmann, a junior on the Peoria Notre Dame golf team, no longer plays in the sand traps. Instead, she works her way out of them, or avoids them altogether.

Ferlmann is one of the top golfers on the ND team that is poised to contend for a title at today’s Regional at the Illinois State University Golf Course in Normal.

“I actually beat my dad the other day at that same course,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite courses. I’m looking forward to the Regional.”

Notre Dame coach Gordon Hitzeroth said Ferlmann has been the leader on a young team that put together a strong regular season.

“We lost some quality seniors from last year, but our juniors (Ferlmann and Erin Ketterer) have played well all year,” he said. “Our one sophomore and three freshmen in the rotation have been excellent also.”

Notre Dame went 19-3 in the regular season, and Hitzeroth said he likes his team’s chances in the Regional.

“There are a few teams that are even with each other. It will just come down to who plays the best on that day,” he said. “But, we have the talent to win it. That is our goal anytime we go into any event. We want to win.”

The one sophomore (Maggie Rothan), and the three freshmen (Molly Kapraun, Georgia West and Caitlin Evers) compiled a better record than last year’s senior-laden team, Hitzeroth said.

“Maggie has improved considerably. She’s a great athlete,” he said. “And, the freshmen have been a gift. They have been rock solid all year.”

Ketterer is healthy after dealing with a wrist injury earlier in the season.

Ferlmann said she played golf just about every day over the summer, which led to an improvement in her game.

“I feel pretty good about the way I’ve been playing,” she said. “I put a lot of time into getting better.”

Notre Dame will advance to the Galesburg Sectional next week if it finishes in the top three at the Regional today.

Other teams in today’s Regional include: Bloomington, Dunlap, Metamora, Morton, Normal West, Normal Community, Normal U-High, Pekin, Richwoods, Pontiac and Washington.

Notre Dame finished second in the Galesburg Regional last year, and advanced to the Moline Sectional (sixth place finish).