After beginning their spring campaign with two of their top performers on the sidelines dealing with health issues, the Blue Devils finally have a chance to see what their full squad is capable of. 

Duke will head to Gainesville, Fla., Saturday and Sunday for the Suntrust Gator Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course, where the Blue Devils will finally be at full strength after playing without Virginia Elena Carta in their last match and not having Sandy Choi at their other only event this spring. 

No. 10 Duke was able to take a late lead in the final round of each tournament but came up short both times. Its closest result came in last weekend’s Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, where the Blue Devils finished just two strokes behind champion Alabama. Duke head coach Dan Brooks is confident that his squad can build on that experience this weekend.

“Anybody that plays this game competitively will have that feeling when you miss winning by a couple shots, you just go back through your round and you think of so many places, little shots, little puts, where if you had just done a little better on two of them or three of them, the team would have won,” Brooks said. “That’s the kind of thing that you get from being close is you realize the little things matter so much and you hopefully will go into the next tournament with just a little bit more concentration on those little things that you didn’t have last time.”

The Blue Devils saw some excellent individual performances at their last event, where Choi led the way with a fifth-place finish that included rounds of 73, 69 and 73. It was Choi’s spring debut—she missed the spring’s opening event due to pneumonia—but the senior showed that she was in prime form. She now hopes to use her laser-accuracy and sharp short game to battle against Donald Ross' characteristically small greens at Bostick Golf Course.

Carta, who did not make last weekend’s trip to Hilton Head, S.C., after recently having her tonsils removed will also be back in the lineup this weekend. The Udine, Italy, native holds the team second-best scoring average at 72.7 and tied for seventh in February’s Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif. Still, her practice routine has been disrupted as of late due to her surgery and an earlier illness.

“Even before Palos Verdes her practice has been limited by being sick,” Brooks said. “She was able to practice good and hard over the last few days. She’s a dedicated player and she’s a good athlete so she will get it together. I don’t know if she will be in prime form but she’s already shown us that she can pull it together without a lot of preparation.

As Carta and Choi continue to shake off rust, freshman Ana Belac enters the weekend playing some of the best golf of her college career—the Slovenia native is riding two consecutive career-best finishes. After not finishing better than in a tie for 47th place in a fall stroke play event, Belac caught fire this spring by working over the winter to improve her ball striking. The changes have resulted in two top-seven finishes and allowed the Portoroz, Slovenia, native to shoot 71 or better in five of her last six rounds.

Junior Leona Maguire will also participate in the event, which is hosted by the University of Florida, following a tie for sixth at the Darius Rucker Invitational. That finish was propelled by a steady 54-hole performance that included three rounds of 72 for the team’s scoring average leader—although notably neither Maguire nor any other Blue Devil could make a birdie during the event’s final nine holes.

Gurbani Singh will round out Duke’s lineup after coming off of a tie for sixth in her most recent start, marking her second such finish in three events. The New Delhi native tied her career-best score with a 68 to earn a share of the lead after last week’s opening round, but finished sixth after posting a 75 and 73 in her final two rounds. 

The Blue Devils have not played in the Gator Invitational since 2012. Brooks said that the decision to compete back-to-back weekends by signing up for this event was impacted by North Carolina’s House Bill 2. 

The bill—which mandates that individuals use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex stated on their birth certificate and limits protections for LGBTQ people—caused the ACC to announce that it would not hold any conference championships in North Carolina in 2016-17, resulting in the women’s golf championship changing locations and being moved one week earlier in the calendar to April 13-15. The change of date made it difficult for Duke to schedule an event between late March’s LSU Tiger Golf Classic and the ACC championship, which is why Brooks decided to add the Suntrust Gator Invitational at Ross' course to the team’s spring slate.

“Donald Ross courses are as good as they come, it’s a nice course,” Brooks said “It’s not going to be perfectly manicured like Long Cove was, but that even adds to the challenge. You’re going to have a lot of up and downs on tight lies and that kind of thing because the greens aren’t real big and they’re spill-off greens, that’s what a Donald Ross does... They’re known to be firm greens, so it’s a good challenging golf course and we’re looking forward to going.”