After hovering near the top of the leaderboard for the past few days, the Blue Devils came up short Tuesday in the conclusion of their trip down to a water-logged Louisiana.
No. 2 Duke finished third in 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship Tuesday after starting the final round one shot off the lead and remaining in contention throughout the day. Playing at the par-72 English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans, the team’s five-over-par final tally of 583 left it just three shots out of the playoff that featured Southern California and UCLA.
“We are right on the cusp,” head coach Dan Brooks said. “I’m pleased—we have had two tournaments now where we have finished up only behind the California teams.”
Led by a steady performance by junior Laetitia Beck, who finished tied for eighth, the Blue Devils had three golfers finish in the top 20 individually.
Thunderstorms kept players off of the course Monday and reduced the Sugar Bowl to a two-day, 36-hole affair after organizers abandoned the idea of replaying the second round. In an effort to avoid the weather delaying play further, the final round featured a shotgun-start with the lift-clean-place rules in effect through the green.
The storm that suspended play Monday dissipated Tuesday, but high winds in the morning led to higher second round scores. After the field put up a 74.12 average Sunday, the scoring average jumped almost three strokes Tuesday.
The inclement weather turned out to be especially detrimental for the Blue Devils, whose day-two total of 300 was 17 strokes higher than their Sunday total. “With the greens being wet and the wind not blowing extremely hard… that made that first day a good day for scoring,” Brooks said. “But this last day was a lot different of a situation.”
Beck was the only Blue Devil whose score did not increase from round to round—her two even-par rounds paced the Blue Devils and gave her the overall individual lead for a period Tuesday morning.
“I am used to playing in the wind—it is usually windy in Israel and then I would travel to England, and of course it is windy there,” the Caesarea, Israel native said. “I was very excited this morning because I knew I had a pretty big advantage over the other players.”
Senior Lindy Duncan, who is currently 12th in the nation in scoring, finished tied for eleventh after a final-round 75—including a 40 on the front—left her at one-over-par for the event.
Freshman Celine Boutier opened the tournament with a 70 but also fell victim to Tuesday’s gusts and finished tied for 27th with a two-day total of 149. Junior Alejandra Congrejo and senior Stacey Kim finished tied for 20th and 41st, respectively.
Duke faced another talented field in the tournament, as the top-four teams in the nation were present and only two of the 18 teams in the tournament are ranked outside the top 50 in the nation.
A playoff decided the team title after Southern California dropped a couple strokes in the final holes to fall into a tie with UCLA at four-over-par. The Trojans rebounded in the extra holes, though, to beat their rival for the tournament win.
Baylor’s Hayley Davis—whose closing 68 was the lowest round on Tuesday by two strokes—took the individual title with a four-under 140.
The Blue Devils now have more than a month off until they head to Greensboro, N.C. for the Bryan National Collegiate at the end of March.