Duke takes 6th in Palos Verdes

Despite coming off a strong performance at the end of the fall season, Duke came up short this week at the Palos Verdes Golf Club, finishing tied for sixth at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Southern California (876) won the title while Pepperdine, which finished three shots back, was its closest challenger. The No. 6 Blue Devils hoped to do much better, but Duke understands it is still very early in the season.

“I definitely think we could have done better as a team,” freshman Lindy Duncan said. “We’re a little disappointed and I think we didn’t learn the course as best as we could have—maybe next time our practice rounds will be a little bit better. The course is tough and we did the best that we could, but maybe next time we could learn the greens a little better.”

This tournament, like the NCAA Fall Preview, featured a very competitive field. Of the 15 teams participating, 11 were ranked in the top 20 nationally. And because of the cold and snowy weather in Durham in the last few weeks, the Blue Devils’ practice routine was disrupted in the leadup to this high-level event.

On the individual side, Duncan finished a career-best fourth, after shooting a 73 for the day and 3-over 216 for the tournament. Considering that she is from Florida and the winter that Durham has had, her performance was “pretty respectable,” according to head coach Dan Brooks.

Freshman Courtney Ellenbogen finished tied for 17th, shooting a 76 for the day and a 224 overall. Junior Kim Donovan and seniors Allison Whitaker and Stacey Kim finished in ties for 38th, 54th and 67th, respectively. While that trio played well at times, none of the three could string together enough birdies to make a charge.

“Its a very early tournament and a little bit difficult to gauge how we did,” Brooks said. “Obviously the numbers are considerably higher than we’re comfortable with. The golf course was one that we don’t know, we haven’t been here before and it’s a difficult golf course. Small and fast greens, there’s a lot of local knowledge here and it’s a course where you’d like to have three or four practice rounds if you can. There are a lot of factors that I consider when I evaluate this tournament. It was certainly not the kind of performance that we would like, but I take it all with some consideration to various factors.”

Duke will next play in the Wildcat Invitational Feb. 22 and 23 in Tucson, Ariz.


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