Although Leona Maguire led the Blue Devils’ record-breaking win to start the season, it was hard not to notice the impressive performance by Jaravee Boonchant, who finished in a tie for sixth in her collegiate debut.

Now, a second member of Duke’s star-studded freshman class will try to follow her classmate’s lead and help the team start the season two-for-two.

After a record-setting, 22-shot victory three weeks ago, No. 2 Duke will head north Monday and Tuesday for the Windy City Collegiate Championship in Highland Park, Ill. Competing alongside 14 other teams, the team will play 36 holes at Northmoor Country Club Monday followed by an 18-hole final round Tuesday morning.

The event will be the first career start for redshirt freshman Miranda Wang, though Blue Devil coach Dan Brooks emphasized that Wang—who hails from Beijing—will have no rust to shake off, as she played in five Chinese professional events this summer and competed in the National Games of China earlier this month.

“Miranda has really developed into quite a player,” Brooks said. “She’s somebody who’s gotten better since the first day I watched her as a junior golfer. She’s just gradually progressed. She’s hitting beautiful shots right now.... She has a very fluid, powerful swing. She hits it a long ways and has really beautiful rhythm and just a lot of natural ability."

Given the tournament’s name, Wang may be challenged to see if her smooth swing can hold up in gusty conditions. Brooks said that—in his experience—the strength of the wind coming off Lake Michigan can vary from day-to-day, but that a completely calm day is very unlikely.

Maguire will headline the team after posting a three-shot victory in the Jim West Challenge Sept. 11-12, where she set Duke’s 36-hole and 54-hole low scoring records and finished with a total score of 13-under-par. When asked if the senior from Cavan, Ireland has another chance to win this week, Brooks said that she “absolutely” can—even if she fails to bring her best to the par-71 track.

“She has her ups and downs just like anybody does, but somebody that’s a champion like her, the wave is not as great,” Brooks said. “When she gets down a little bit, it doesn’t go down that far, and she’s got the capability of winning tournaments when her game isn’t completely on.... It’s not an expectation of her to be at her best all the time, by any means, because that would be foolish to expect somebody to be at their best. I just know that she can win whether she’s at her best or not.”

Boonchant will look to keep her momentum going following an outstanding performance in Texas, during which she tied the record for the Blue Devils’ lowest 18-hole score relative to par in a debut round by shooting a 66. The freshman carded scores of 71 and 68 in the following rounds and ultimately finished in a tie for sixth, five shots back from Maguire.

Duke will compete against a field featuring six other ranked teams, highlighted by No. 4 Arizona State, tournament host No. 6 Northwestern and No. 8 Oregon State. In last year’s edition of this event, held at the nearby Glen View Club Duke opened in sixth place after 18 holes and could not make up ground during the following two rounds, finishing in fifth place.

Ana Belac will tee off on the 6,200-yard course as the only Blue Devil without a round in the 70s yet this season, as the sophomore shot 67, 69 and 68 to finish at 9-under-par during the team’s trip to Texas, good enough to tie for third. Belac tied for 47th during the team’s trip to Illinois last year, but is poised to improve on that number with six top-25 finishes in her last seven starts dating back to last season. 

Junior Virginia Elena Carta will also compete in this week’s event and is coming off a tie for 12th to begin the season thanks to rounds of 69, 70 and 71. 

At Northmoor Country Club, the squad will be in unfamiliar territory, as neither Brooks nor any team members have experience on the course, though Brooks mentioned the team has been practicing on bentgrass greens to simulate the putting surfaces they will find there. 

“I don’t know anything about it,” Brooks said. “I’ve only heard that it’s a great golf course, and they don’t use golf courses that aren’t great in this tournament. I guess they do a lot of rotating up there. It’s always some great Chicago golf course.”

That being said, the Blue Devils showed no trouble adjusting to a new course during their last event, so do not expect the novel setup to faze the team this time around.