Duke finishes 2nd, 5 strokes back of leader

Without last season's NCAA Champion Anna Grzebien teeing off with the team, the women's golf team finished the Bryan National Collegiate in second place.

With only four players, Duke failed to extend its streak of five consecutive wins at the event, holding the second place spot from wire to wire.

Grzebien, currently ranked seventh, skipped the Blue Devils' last tournament before postseason play to compete as an amateur in the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship. She missed the cut by eight strokes at the major tournament.

"It's not an issue for this team," head coach Dan Brooks said of competing without Grzebien. "These girls are going to shine, they're going to play better with pressure."

Even without one of their top performers, the Blue Devils finished at 16-over par, just five strokes behind winner Georgia. Duke shot under par as a team on the final day, but could not catch the Bulldogs.

"When you've got talent from top to bottom, everybody's playing to count," Brooks said. "It's a tremendous experience to play without that mental cushion."

The short-handed Blue Devils were paced by top-ranked Amanda Blumenherst, who finished the tournament in second. After carding a career-worst 6-over- par 78 on the first day, the freshman stormed back to even par with two straight rounds in the red.

Similarly, sophomore Jennifer Pandolfi recovered from a poor first round and finished tied for ninth with teammate Liz Janangelo at 5-over par.

"There were some things I was really excited about," Brooks said. "Jennifer's 68 [Sunday] was really good. Her last two days were just really good."

Janangelo fell to ninth-place after leading the tournament by four strokes on the first day. The senior flew out of the gate by posting five birdies in her first six holes, but finished the tournament 10-over par from there.

"Liz has shined for us many times- she'll be back," Brooks said.

Freshman Jennie Lee, playing with a new grip, was the fourth Blue Devil competing Sunday. Her 6-over-par 222 put her into a tie for 13th.

Brooks attested that the new grip combined with windy conditions caused her to struggle at times, but that she managed well.

"I have to hand it to her," Brooks said. "I'm proud of her."

Last weekend's tournament marked the fourth time this year that Duke failed to finish in first-a surprising trend for a team that has been dominant the past few years.

"I'm confident with where we're headed right now," Brooks said. "We just need to stay patient and realize we have talent and be confident in that talent."

Duke will have another chance to win on the same course when they return to Browns Summit for the NCAA Regionals May 11.

The Blue Devils next tee off in the ACC championships at Pinehurst April 14-16.


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