Poor weather conditions have slowed the Blue Devils’ quest for their third women’s golf national title.
Heavy rain and gusty winds resulted in high scores for the entire field Wednesday at the NCAA Championships in Sunriver, Ore.
“I don’t think that there’s anything about this golf course that would make that weather any more treacherous,” head coach Dan Brooks said of the Meadows Course. “I thought the combination of this course, which is a very reasonable golf course, with the weather conditions made for a real solid test.”
Duke currently sits in fifth place, nine strokes off the pace set by co-leaders Auburn and Pepperdine, with 36 holes left to play. The Blue Devils carded a round of 303 and are 27-over par for the tournament.
Starting on the back nine, Duke was just seven-over at the midway point of the round and led the tournament. But wind gusts that reached 25 miles per hour, left the Blue Devils struggling to a 12-over final nine.
The afternoon pairings met a similar fate and shot high scores. First round leader USC was 28-over par Wednesday and are now in seventh.
“I feel good about where we are,” head coach Dan Brooks said. “I wouldn’t mind being a few shots closer but it’s not an insurmountable margin at all.”
The Blue Devils have shown they can comeback from larger deficits before. Duke rallied from 12 shots back on two occasions during the fall, once with 36 holes remaining and the other with 18 left to play.
Anna Grzebien was one of three Blue Devils to shoot four-over 75 in the treacherous conditions, and she currently leads Duke with a two-day total of 146.
After the first day of play Tuesday, the Blue Devils were eight over par and five strokes off the pace set by the USC.
Dealing with a steady wind and a cold mist, all five Duke golfers finished the round within three strokes of each other and nobody more than four over par.
Freshman Jennifer Pandolfi led the Blue Devils with a one-over 72. After starting with a bogey and double-bogey in just the first three holes, the freshman rebounded and played well the rest of the round, including a two-under-par performance on the last nine holes.
“We battled well and put ourselves in good position,” Brooks said. “Everybody came here to fight, and that’s why we all performed so similarly scorewise.”
Similar weather conditions are expected over the final two days of the tournament, which will likely make low scores sparse.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.