The Blue Devils displayed some predator instincts at the Cougar Classic.
The Duke women’s golf team traveled to the Yeamans Hall Club in Hanahan, S.C. to take on a talented pool of competition, featuring 10 of the top 15 teams from the 2012 NCAA Championship, including each of the top-five finishers. But thanks to a strong showing on the final day, the Blue Devils finished in second place.
No. 3 Duke was led by their familiar standout, senior Lindy Duncan, who claimed second place individually in the Classic with her three-round score of 207. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native finished just four shots behind Camilla Hedberg of Florida, who ended the tournament with a 13-under par 203.
Duncan, who was named the No. 1 player to watch for the upcoming 2012-13 season by Golf World, lived up to the high expectations of her pre-season accolades. The 2012 NGCA Player of the Year last season seems to have ice in her veins when the pressure is on.
“I think the great thing about Lindy is that she does have those [high] expectations, she feels it, but she is able to collect herself and perform very well,” Blue Devil head coach Dan Brooks said. “It’s not that she’s not feeling it. She keeps finding a way to get it done even though she does feel the pressure.”
Duke brought its strongest performance to the links on day three of the tournament. At the end of day one, the Blue Devils stood tied for second place, yet after a rough showing on day two, they found themselves tied for sixth place. This slip in standing only seemed to motivate Duke, who after day two, sat 12 shots behind the leading Gators.
“The best thing about [finishing where we did] was the attitude of the players,” Brooks said. “We just stayed strong until the very end. Even though Florida had quite a lead on us going into the last day, we still gave winning a strong possibility.”
The Blue Devils recorded a team-total 286 on day one of the tournament, a 291 on day two and a 281 on day three. The strong finish and persevering attitude of the Duke players propelled the team up the leader board to the second-place spot.
Brooks praised the play of the two Blue Devil freshmen who stepped right into their first collegiate tournament, saying they competed with confidence and winning attitudes. In their collegiate debuts, Duke’s Yi Ashley Xiao finished tied for 10th place and Celine Boutier finished tied for 25th.
“[It was exciting] for two freshmen to come in and to understand that winning was still a strong possibility even with that deficit that we had,” Brooks said. “For them to come in and play as strong as they did… that says a lot about their perspective on winning and how they give it a good possibility all the way to the end.”