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Duke women's golf earns top seed in Baton Rouge NCAA regional

The Blue Devils will head to the University Club May 5-7 to attempt to qualify for the NCAA championship

<p>Senior Celine Boutier won the individual title&nbsp;by 14 strokes when Duke won the&nbsp;LSU Golf Classic in March at the University Club.</p>

Senior Celine Boutier won the individual title by 14 strokes when Duke won the LSU Golf Classic in March at the University Club.

For the second straight year, Duke is looking to get back on track at NCAA regionals after a lackluster ACC championship performance.

Luckily for the Blue Devils, they will be returning to the site of their most dominant performance this season.

No. 5 Duke will compete in its second postseason leg May 5-7 in Baton Rouge, La., with the top six teams in the 18-team NCAA regional field qualifying for the NCAA championship May 20-25 in Eugene, Ore. When the tournament field was announced Monday, the Blue Devils earned the No. 1 seed at the University Club, where the team posted a 16-stroke victory at the LSU Golf Classic in March and senior Celine Boutier won the individual title by 14 strokes.

Duke will tackle the David Toms and Jim Lipe layout in Baton Rouge after finishing third at the ACC championship April 15-17 in Greensboro, N.C. The Blue Devils’ 19-over-par score of 883 fell 28 shots behind champion Virginia, marking Duke's second straight year without a conference title.

The team will have an opportunity to redeem its ACC championship woes at regionals for the second consecutive year. Last year, the Blue Devils finished 26 shots behind the Cavaliers at the conference championship  but went on to win the NCAA regional championship in South Bend, Ind., before eventually losing in the national semifinals.

Several Duke golfers will enter regional play after strong showings in the spring. Boutier posted a school record 14-stroke victory during her last trip to the University Club and freshman Virginia Elena Carta will bring three straight top-10 finishes to the par-72 course.

The Blue Devils' scoring average leader—sophomore Leona Maguire—is ranked No. 8 in the country and will look to capture her second individual victory of the season. Although the Cavan, Ireland, native has struggled as of late, she will have good memories returning to NCAA regional play. Maguire won last year’s regional event, finishing one stroke ahead of Boutier.

Five other top-25 teams will participate in the 18-team field at the Baton Rouge Regional, including No. 6 Florida and No. 7 Arizona State.


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