Duke women's golf heads down Tobacco Road for Tar Heel Invitational
This one will be no different.
No. 10 Duke will look to earn its third top-five finish of the season in as many starts when the the team competes at the 54-hole Tar Heel Invitational Friday through Sunday at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C. The field features 18 teams, 10 of which are ranked in the top 25 in Golfweek's latest rankings.
"It should be a great tournament," head coach Dan Brooks said. "We know the course well.... It's a good golf course and it's in good shape. The scores tend to be fairly low in this tournament, so we're going into it with our eyes open."
After finishing tied for fourth at this event last year, Duke is hoping to have another strong performance on the 6,285 yard, par-72 golf course.
"It has fairly large greens, so it's really important to zero in on your target and make sure that you're trying to get to the right part of the green," Brooks said. "Depending on how they've cut the rough, I think it's really important to be very accurate."
Freshman Yu Liu, who finished in the top 10 in her first start as a Blue Devil in the team's last tournament, will likely not be intimidated by the size of the tournament after playing in an official LPGA event in her home country of China last weekend. She finished in 73rd place after four rounds of the Reignwood LPGA Classic at the Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing. Sophomore Celine Boutier also already has valuable LPGA experience after making the cut at the Ricoh Women's British Open at St. Andrews earlier this year.
"It's fantastic anytime they're able to play against the world's best, the people that make a living playing this game," Brooks said. "You're in a tournament where you're going to see how you perform against the very best, but also you hopefully have the experience of being paired with really good players. You can observe how they think and how they conduct themselves.... It's so valuable. It's such great experience."
Liu and Boutier will be joined in the team lineup by seniors Laetitia Beck and Alejandra Cangrejo and freshman Sandy Choi. Despite the expected lower scoring and size of the tournament, the Blue Devils are likely not going to deviate from the strategy that garnered two top-five finishes on tougher golf courses with equally strong fields.
"It's no different," Brooks said. "It's still all about you, your own golf, one shot at a time and staying in the present. It doesn't really matter who's on the golf course with you.... [this tournament] is valuable to us because you know your scores will be up against some of the best. That's always good to assess where you are and how well you actually played."