The Chronicle’s best wins bracket previously introduced some of Duke men’s basketball’s top moments throughout the years. This new series coincides with those moments, shedding light on some of Duke Athletics’ other highlights throughout the school’s storied history. We hope you enjoy this stroll down memory lane. Today's moment: Duke takes home a third consecutive national title in women’s golf in May of 2007.
After winning back-to-back NBA championships as the head coach of the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers, Pat Riley coined the term “three-peat” as a campaign for the 1988-89 season. Ever since then, talented teams across all sports have attempted to win three consecutive championships, with most coming up short. However, in the spring of 2007, a certain women’s golf team from Durham was on the precipice of securing a coveted three-peat.
The stage: LPGA International Golf Club in Daytona Beach, Fla. As the two-time defending national champions, the Blue Devils were looking to continue to stake out their claim to a women’s golf dynasty under Dan Brooks.
Four regular season team victories along with sophomore Amanda Blumenherst dominating all year established Duke as a team to beat heading into the ACC and NCAA championships. A 12th straight conference title by a whopping 35 strokes sent the Blue Devils rolling into the final stretch of the season.
Regional play saw Duke rack up a 16-under-par team total, sending the team to Daytona Beach with seemingly all of the momentum possible. A somewhat shaky start left the Blue Devils five shots behind USC after the first round.
What followed was a remarkable turnaround. A one-under-par total on day two allowed Duke to surge to the top of the leaderboard, with seven strokes between the Blue Devils and second place. By stretching the lead to eight on day three, it was obvious that Duke was determined to make the final round of play merely a coronation.
When the final putt dropped, the Blue Devils had lapped the field by 15 shots, and three players—Blumenherst, senior Anna Grzebien and sophomore Jennie Lee—finished in the top seven individually. The golfers had fought through challenging Floridian winds to secure the 2006-07 national title.
In the aftermath, Brooks was named National Coach of the Year, Blumenherst received National Player of the Year honors and Grzebien, the lone senior on the team, ended her career in style. Duke had successfully three-peated, a clear sign of the program’s dominance over women’s collegiate golf.