ATHENS, Ga. – For the second straight day, the top-seeded and third-ranked Duke women’s golf team turned in a solid round as the Blue Devils carded a one-over-par, 289, and enters the third of four rounds at the 6,372-yard, par 72 University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., in third place.
Wednesday’s round belonged to Southern California as the Trojans shot a 12-under-par, 276, and holds a 12-stroke lead heading into the third of four rounds. Duke has posted 18-hole totals of 286 and 289 for a total of 576 and is 15 shots back of USC. The afternoon wave did not complete the second round following two stoppages of play due to inclement weather. The second round will resume at 7:25 a.m., on Wednesday.
“USC put a great score out today,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “If you’re going to be that far behind, then it might as well be to the best score ever shot in an NCAA Championship. They were just incredible today; they played great. We have two more days.”
The top six finishers on Wednesday include Southern California (560), Alabama (572), Duke (575), UCLA (576), Purdue (578) and Stanford (578).
“We’ve gone low before -- in fact we’ve gone low this spring,” commented Brooks. “We just need to stay patient and keep waiting on those putts to fall. I was very happy with my team because we got into some trouble early with our own game. Then you see the team you’re trying to beat going low. But there was no panic in our team. We played our final holes really well.”
As a team, the Blue Devils played great golf in the second round, but the day was marred by three early double-bogeys. This put Duke having to come back and the Blue Devils did just that connecting on 10 late birdies to get the score back to one-over-par.
Leading Duke on the day was senior Lindy Duncan with a one-under-par, 71, and enters the final 36 holes at tied for 15th with a 143. For the second straight day, Duncan struggled off the bat as her approach shot on the 159-yard, par three 13th hit the bank and fell back into the water. She finished with a double-bogey, which marked only the fourth double-bogey or worse this season for the reigning National Player of the Year.
“For me today, it was a little bit of I couldn’t put everything together,” said Duncan. “I hit it really good on the back nine, which was our front. I had a ton of birdie opportunities, but I didn’t make any of them. On the front nine, which was our back, I kind of hit it all over the place, but managed to make some key pars and had two really good birdies. I grinded it out again. I don’t know where we stand right now as a team, but you can make birdies out there for sure.”
A product of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Duncan did not have a blemish the rest of the day, which included birdies at No. 18, No. 2 and No. 8. She registered key par putts on No. 1 of seven feet and No. 5 at eight feet to keep her solid round in tack. Duncan’s final birdie of the day came on the 473-yard, par five seventh as she hit a wedge to within a foot. She hit 12 fairways, 15 greens and had 31 putts on the day.
Continuing her excellent play was freshman Celine Boutier as she carded a one-over-par, 73, and is tied for ninth overall. Boutier, who is from Montrouge, France, opened her round with a double-bogey, after she found the greenside bunker on her approach shot. She responded with a one-under-par ledger the final 17 holes that included a birdie on No. 13 for the second straight day. Boutier also rolled in a seven-foot birdie on No. 16 as well. She hit 15 greens, nine fairways and had 34 putts for the morning.
“I started pretty poorly with a double-bogie but then I think I was able to play pretty well,” commented Boutier. “I was one-under through the last 17 holes, so I was able to finish well. The course played pretty short today, I thought. The course was firm and it was very playable.”
Senior Courtney Ellenbogen fired an even-par, 72, on Wednesday and will enter the third round tied for 31st with a 146. She kicked off her day with four consecutive pars before suffering back-to-back bogeys on No. 14 and No. 15. A native of Blacksburg, Va., Ellenbogen went on to play the next nine holes and three-under-par, to move to one-under for the day. She connected on a five-foot birdie putt on No. 18 as she hit the pin on the flight in, sank a 12-footer for birdie on No. 1 and drained a nine-foot birdie on No. 6. Ellenbogen hit 14 greens, 13 fairways and had 32 putts on the round, while notching two up-and-downs.
A day after turning in a 77, junior Alejandra Cangrejo fired a one-over-par, 73, in the second round. In the individual rankings, Cangrejo is tied for 70th with a 150. She collected Duke’s first birdie of the day on the 356-yard, par four 11th and remained one-under-par through nine holes as she notched eight straight pars. Cangrejo, who is from Bogota, Colombia, opened her final nine with bogeys on No. 1 and No. 3 before sinking a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 4 to get back to even par. She had a wayward drive on No. 6 to lead to another bogey, but finished off with three pars to close the day. Cangrejo totaled 14 greens, eight fairways and 31 putts.
A product of Caesarea, Israel, Laetitia Beck finished with a 75 on Wednesday and is tied for 31st overall with a 146. She had a rough front nine as she suffered a double-bogey on No. 13, after her tee shot went into the water and then back-to-back bogeys on No. 15 and No. 16. Beck played the next 10 holes at two-under-par, to get back to two-over for the day, but had her tee shot on No. 9 go into the trees and suffered a bogey to close the day. She hit 14 greens, 11 fairways and had 33 putts on her day.
Duke will tee off on Wednesday in the third round beginning at 12:03 p.m., along with 12:58 p.m.