ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- On a day when bad weather caused numerous breaks in play, Duke couldn't seem to catch any breaks of its own.
Trailing USC by 15 strokes after round two, the Blue Devils put together a round of 11-over before play was finally stopped for good late Thursday night. It is currently the fifth-best round of the day, but still leaves Duke far off the lead in its bid for an unprecedented fourth consecutive national title.
Junior Jennie Lee--the only Blue Devil to finish 18 holes--had her best round of the tournament, shooting a 1-over with two birdies, but lamented the fact that her rhythm was disrupted by the stoppage of play.
"I started off one hole and I had a birdie and then they called us in," Lee said. "It was hard for me to have any momentum."
That theme resonated with the rest of the Blue Devils on Thursday as the golfers all had difficulty finding consistency on the course due to the repeated stoppage of play. After days of above 90-degree heat, Thursday brought rain, lightning, hail, heavy winds and unexpectedly cold temperatures. Any momentum the Blue Devils managed to generate was quickly put to rest by weather intervention.
Junior Amanda Blumenherst also struggled with the layoff, double-bogeying and bogeying her first two holes after play resumed from the initial break for lightning. The two-time defending National Player of the Year has registered just one birdie in this round after knocking in four on Wednesday.
Now trailing co-leaders USC and UCLA by 18 strokes, the Blue Devils' bid for a place in the record books appears to be nearly impossible.
It's easy to wonder if the outcome would have been different if the weather hadn't wreaked so much havoc. On Wednesday, when the Blue Devils resumed their round--while other teams stopped for the day--they promptly fell an additional seven strokes back of the pace. Duke might have been able to apply a lot more pressure on the leaders in the third round had it been allowed to continue its second round Thursday.
--by Sabreena Merchant