Late Auburn surge pushes Duke to 2nd

For the first time since Nov. 3, 2002, the women's golf team lost a tournament on its fall schedule.

The top-ranked Blue Devils led by five strokes entering the final round at the Derby Invitational in Auburn, Ala., but they finished in second place after host-school Auburn carded a 2-under-par round to edge Duke by one stroke.

"Auburn played well on their home course," head coach Dan Brooks said. "I'm really not upset with our performance. A good team played well and nipped us by a shot."

After opening her sophomore campaign with three disappointing tournaments, Jennifer Pandolfi rebounded and finished in a season-best eighth-place tie. She turned in three solid rounds over the weekend, highlighted by a 1-under 71 Saturday in the tournament's second round.

"I didn't hit the ball any better, but I felt like I was able to stay really positive," Pandolfi said. "I'd been getting very frustrated by bad shots and bad holes and would get down on myself. This weekend I stayed very focused and kept my drive even after I made a bogey."

Pandolfi had not finished any better than 28th individually in the season's first three tournaments. Through the team's first three tournaments, her scores had been counted toward the team total only twice in the Blue Devils' nine rounds; teams drop their worst score. At the Derby Invitational, all three of Pandolfi's rounds were counted.

"She showed a lot of guts out there," Brooks said. "I'm really proud of her. Her hard work and determination really paid off."

Freshman Amanda Blumenherst and the nation's third-ranked golfer Anna Grzebien finished in a fourth place tie. Although Blumenherst carded her first two rounds over par of the season, the nation's top ranked-golfer played consistently over the weekend and notched only one double bogey, as she finished 3-over par for the tournament.

Fellow freshman Jennie Lee struggled Saturday and turned in a 7-over-par 79 that included a triple-bogey eight on the 16th hole, but she shook off the bad day and fired a 1-over round to close out the tournament.

"Both freshmen came in and did a great job," Brooks said. "Putting was very tough, and had they gotten a few more to fall, I feel like they could have been shooting in the 60s."

Senior Liz Janangelo continued the strong play that earned her an individual title at the Stanford Intercollegiate last month. The captain, ranked No. 4 in the country, opened the tournament with a 1-under round and finished in an 11th-place tie.

The Blue Devils now have the winter off and will resume their 2005-2006 schedule in Tucson, Ariz. at the Wildcat Invitational Feb. 20.


Share and discuss “Late Auburn surge pushes Duke to 2nd” on social media.