Duke was the only team not swept off the course during windy conditions at the ACC championships this weekend.
The Blue Devils recorded a 23-over-par 875 to claim their first conference title since 2008, 10 strokes in front of second-place North Carolina. The team was led by junior Lindy Duncan, who took home the conference individual title with a three-round total of 210 at the par-71, 6,224-yard Sedgefield Country Club.
“[Lindy] was just great through the whole event—the whole team was,” Duke head coach Dan Brooks said. “They accepted what we had in front of us—the difficult golf course, fast greens and gusty, change-wind conditions.”
Despite the less than ideal conditions, the Blue Devils were able to clinch their 17th ACC championship and their first since 2008, when then-sophomore, Amanda Blumenhurst claimed her second consecutive individual conference championship while leading Duke to a team title.
At 3-under-par, Duncan was the only golfer to break even for the weekend. She finished six strokes ahead of a three-way tie for second place at 3-over-par. The junior pulled away from the rest of the field on the second day when windy conditions prevailed, shooting a 2-under-par 69 while Wake Forest’s Olafia Kristinsdottir and Blue Devil sophomore Alejandra Cangrejo, two eventual runners-up, shot a 78 and 75, respectively.
The win marks Duncan’s fourth tournament title and her eighth top-10 finish this season. “The middle day was especially tough,” Brooks said. “The players had to be prepared to stand behind the ball with two clubs and hang onto the club that they thought at that moment would work.”
Duncan finished the last round of play with an even-par 71, maintaining her lead over Kristinsdottir, Cangrejo and Florida State’s Maria Salinas. Duke sophomore Laetitia Beck earned ninth place with a 9-over-par 222, followed by junior Stacey Kim, who tied for 19th place six strokes behind. Junior Courtney Ellenbogen rounded out the Blue Devil lineup tied for 36th place after shooting a 24-over-par 237.
“This [championship] means a lot, particularly because the conditions this weekend were so tough,” Brooks said. “We won on a really hard golf course, which is exciting. The harder the conditions, the most likely it is that the best team is going to win that tournament. The fluke factor is less likely to happen when playing on a really good course.”
The Blue Devils have 25 days until the NCAA regional championship, which begins May 10. Despite the long layoff, the team will look to carry the momentum through NCAA play.
“A win is always good for that kind of thing,” Brooks said. “We’ve got our sights set on big things.”