Blue Devils shoot into 1st place

All it took for Amanda Blumenherst and Duke to rediscover their places at the top of the leaderboard was nice weather and good greens.

The Blue Devils found the sunny skies and acceptable conditions of the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla. as a welcome respite from the North Carolina cold and the choppy putting surface they faced last week in Arizona.

As a result, the team shot 3-under par Monday for a 21-shot lead over the nearest competitor in the UCF Challenge. Blumenherst, the reigning National Player of the Year, continued her streak of solid play with a torrid 9-under-par 135, highlighted by a 65 in her second round. She currently leads the field by 10 strokes.

"Amanda was playing very confident today," head coach Dan Brooks said. "She couldn't wait to hit the next shot, because she was feeling it. She was enjoying it. She was loving it. And that's the most wonderful thing as an athlete you can have."

Blumenherst, a sophomore, shot a 2-under-par 70 in her first 18 holes. She pulled away from the pack in the first nine holes of her second round, when she posted five birdies and four pars.

Brooks attributed Blumenherst's success to the well-kept greens, which were in better condition than they were in Tuscon last week.

"Good players are not used to missing, so when they're on rough greens, the putts just don't go in and you get frustrated," he said. "It's one thing to know you're putting a good stroke on it, but it's another thing to see that ball go in the hole."

Blumenherst was complemented by sophomore Jennie Lee and freshman Alison Whitaker, who both shot 1-over-par 145 for the two rounds. The Duke duo is tied for second place with five other golfers.

The Blue Devils will play 18 holes Tuesday at 8 a.m. when they continue the quest for their first win of the spring season.


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