UPDATE: Duke takes commanding lead in 3rd round

Columbus, Ohio - Just like the gusting winds that swept across the Scarlet Course at Ohio State University, the Blue Devils struck with gale force Wednesday, surging into first place.

By carding a combined 1-under-par 287, No.1 Duke became the first team of the tournament to post a sub-par round, managing to play its best golf at the same time that most others faltered.

"I think good players like adversity," head coach Dan Brooks said. "So whenever it's windy or the course is long or the golf course is a tough one, championship-type course, I think the better players are going to like that."

The Blue Devils now hold a substantial 13-stroke lead over Southern California after trailing Arizona State by three entering Wednesday's play. ASU was 22-over par in the third round and fell all the way to a tie for fourth. Such a commanding lead puts defending-champion Duke in a strong position to repeat and win their fourth National Championship.

Freshman Jennie Lee leads all Blue Devil golfers. She is currently tied for second place, three shots behind leader Eileen Vargas of Pepperdine, at 1-over par. Lee carded an even-par round for the second straight day after sinking a 46-foot. birdie put on the 18th hole.

"We're really proud of Jennie, she really just stepped up to the plate," senior Liz Janangelo said. "Coach Brooks brings in incredible talent year in and year out so when our freshmen do well it's not surprising."

Lee rarely saw herself atop any leader board during her rookie season, but she has played some of the most consistent golf of the tournament with her tallies of 73, 72 and 72.

"I have [been nervous] to tell you the truth," Lee said. "I think just from being a huge championship, all the best teams are here. It's just like the grand finale."

Duke's other freshman, top-ranked Amanda Blumenherst, led her team's charge Wednesday by posting a 2-under-par 70, putting her in a tie for ninth.

Janangelo was the only other Blue Devil under par with a 1-under 71, a score that moved her up into a tie for 7th, one stroke ahead of Blumenherst and two behind Lee.

Defending individual champion Anna Grzebien and teammate Jen Pandolfi both shot 74 and are tied for 24th, up from 29th the day before.

"I'm not surprised by what my team is doing because I've seen them play a lot of really good golf," Brooks said.

Strong storms promise to soften the course tomorrow, but the Blue Devils have no plans of slowing down themselves.

"We're all just going to play our own games and not let anyone else's good shots or bad shots get to us," Janangelo said. "We're just going to take it shot to shot and see where it takes us and if we do that we'll come out on top."


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