8 Blue Devils set to compete in U.S. Open

Three members of the 2006 NCAA champion women's golf team will be heading to the U.S. Women's Open next week in Newport, R.I.

Liz Janangelo, who graduated in May, and rising sophomores Jennie Lee and Amanda Blumenherst will also be joined by five former Blue Devils at the Newport Country Club.

Rising senior Anna Grzebien, the 2005 NCAA individual title winner, and incoming freshman Alison Whitaker will be alternates for the event.

"It's great, I called everyone to congratulate them," Janangelo said. "Hopefully we can grab dinner one night and catch up."

Past Duke golfers competing in next week's major will include Virada "Oui" Nirapathpongporn, Kristina Engstrom Tucker, Brittany Lang, Beth Bauer and Candy Hannemann.

Nirapathpongporn and Engstrom Tucker led the Blue Devils to the 2002 title and Lang was a key contributor to the 2005 National Championship before turning pro after her sophomore year last summer.

Bauer and Hannemann starred on head coach Dan Brooks' squad in 1999, when Duke won its first of four national titles.

After finishing second at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, Lee said she is looking forward to improving on her 2004 U.S Open performance-following her junior year in high school, she made the cut and finished in a 50th-place tie.

"I want to make the cut, but I want to step it up a little, finish higher than I did last time, possibly in the top 20," Lee said. "It's been two years and I've improved my game since then.

"With doing so well at nationals and the team winning, it's given me a lot of confidence for the U.S. Open and the other tournaments I'm playing in this summer."

In last year's U.S. Open, Lang made a run at the championship and ended up finishing in a second-place tie with Morgan Pressel, who turned down a Duke scholarship offer, opting to become a professional instead.

For any Blue Devil to replicate Lang's success from last year, she will have to deal with the world's top golfer Annika Sorenstam, youth-phenom Michelle Wie and reigning champion Birdie Kim.

"It's going to be a great experience," Lee said of playing in such a prestigious tournament. "It will open my eyes to what's out there. I see these players on TV all the time and there's a lot that I can learn from them."

Action gets underway June 29 with the first two days of play being broadcast on ESPN. The weekend rounds, including the Sunday final, will be aired on NBC from 3 to 6 p.m.


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