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Duke women's golf looks for second straight win at Liz Murphey Intercollegiate

Junior Celine Boutier and the Blue Devils will look to claim their third victory of the season this weekend at the Liz Murphey Collegiate.
Junior Celine Boutier and the Blue Devils will look to claim their third victory of the season this weekend at the Liz Murphey Collegiate.

Seeking their third title of the season, the Blue Devils head south this weekend.

Duke hits the road for Athens, Ga., Friday for the Liz Murphey Collegiate, where it will face some of the best competition in the country at the 6,401 yard University of Georgia Golf Course.

The competition features top-notch teams, including 13 that have combined to win the past 15 NCAA championships. Headlining the field are Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, Southern California, Georgia, Northwestern, Purdue, South Carolina, Stanford and UCLA.

“It’s a good field,” Duke head coach Dan Brooks said. “Several of the top teams are wanting to get into these match play events so I think they were able to get a good field here. Some of the top teams will be here.”

The Duke lineup for this weekend will consist of junior Celine Boutier, sophomore Sandy Choi and freshmen Leona Maguire, Lisa Maguire, and Gurbani Singh.

In her third year with the Blue Devils, Boutier has had another outstanding season, earning a spot as the No. 1 ranked amateur female golfer in the world. This week, Boutier was also deemed Rookie of the Year at the French Golf Awards in Paris, France. In addition to the veterans, the newest additions to the squad have been strong assets to the team this year.

“We have three freshmen in the lineup so that’s been great,” Brooks said. “They bring a lot of passion and energy to the team and they’re all really good team members.”

After taking first at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate for the second year in a row, the Blue Devils are looking to continue their strong momentum heading into this weekend’s competition.

Maguire stole the show in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, winning the individual title on a one-hole playoff. The Cavan, Ireland, native became the second straight Duke freshman to take home the title after Yu Liu brought home the hardware last year.

In addition to Maguire's victory, the rest of the team put forth a good showing as well, using solid play across the board to claim the team title by nine strokes after posting a tournament-record 282 on the final day. The victory was the second team title for the Blue Devils this season and the 121st for Brooks, which is the most wins in Division I women’s golf history.

The unique format of the Liz Murphey Intercollegiate will be good experience for the Blue Devils as they prepare for the NCAA championship at the end of the season.

“This is a match play event, it’s a combination of stroke-play and match play,” Brooks said. “So everybody is just going to play golf like they normally do, but it’s going to be a little bit of a different format and this is what our NCAA Championship is going to be—this year is match play for the first time so this will be a chance for us to get into match-play a little bit and that will be good for the championship.”

A second straight title is the long-term goal, but the Blue Devils are remaining focused on taking things one tournament at a time and continuing to demonstrate their prowess as they head into the busy portion of their schedule.

“The idea we have in mind is to win every tournament we play in,” Brooks said.

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