Duke seeks sixth NCAA women's golf title
Duke’s women’s golf team accomplished its goal of qualifying for the NCAA championships during regional play in Tallahassee, Fla., last week.
That doesn’t mean the Blue Devils, with serious national championship aspirations, are satisfied with their play.
Duke tied for third at the East Regional, good enough to get them to Tulsa, Okla., for the 72-hole NCAA championship tournament that begins Tuesday and runs through Friday.
After winning the ACC championship at Greensboro’s Sedgfield Country Club, Duke finished 20 strokes behind regional champion Vanderbilt at Tallahassee.
“I would have liked to have been a little lower there,” said Duke coach Dan Brooks, who has led the Blue Devils to NCAA championships in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. “But each player shines at certain times. We got a lot of contributions from everybody. That’s always good.”
Freshman Sandy Choi shot a career-best 4-under par for the Blue Devils at the 54-hole tournament, finishing five shots off the lead. But no other Duke player finished higher than 24th overall.
“At regionals I don’t think we played well,” said four-time, all-ACC player Laetita Beck, who tied for 47th at the East Regional. “We had up and down rounds. I wasn’t happy with my rounds especially. I hope I can play much better. “
Beck is one of three Blue Devils with experience playing in the NCAA championships, along with ACC player of the year Celine Boutier, a sophomore, and senior Alejandra Cangrejo. Beck finished 17th at last year’s NCAA tournament.
Boutier has won three tournaments this season.
Brooks said the players simply have to trust in what they’ve done as they hit the course at Tulsa today.
“You don’t cram for this stuff,” Brooks said. “You develop your game all through the year. It’s not like you can make a big change all in one week. It’s time to get in the right frame of mind to play great golf and hope for the best. I think we’ll stack up very, very well.”
Duke, Vanderbilt, UCLA and reigning NCAA champion Southern California, which is ranked No. 1, are considered favorites to claim the championship.