Duke women's golf impresses in third round, finishes joint-4th at Windy City Collegiate

The Blue Devils jumped several spots from their performance at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate the week prior.
The Blue Devils jumped several spots from their performance at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate the week prior.

After Duke football’s dramatic loss against Notre Dame Saturday in the closing seconds, Blue Devil fans are likely eager for more positive outcomes in athletics. 

Although it is still early in the season, the Blue Devils’ women’s golf team is looking to do just that, tying for fourth place Tuesday at the Windy City Collegiate Classic held in Golf, Ill. Most notably, graduate student Emma McMyler (T-4) and sophomore Andie Smith (T-14) were outstanding, leading Duke to a promising performance after an underwhelming one at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate in September, where it finished ninth. 

The Blue Devils bounced back in this tournament, finishing with a respectable 21 under par and a total score of 843, just below Oregon (-22), Northwestern (-23) and UCLA (-32). Although the Bruins finished first and broke the tournament record with their score, the Blue Devils showed notable improvement from the week prior. 

“My favorite part is we got contribution from everybody, and the next favorite thing to that is that we got pretty far under par,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. 

The Blue Devils certainly performed much better collectively than last tournament. Although senior Phoebe Brinker, who won the individual title at ANNIKA Intercollegiate, did not perform as well this tournament, the team as a whole performed well and had the second-best to-par score with -9 for round three. Notably, McMyler finished with the best individual score for the entire third round with an impressive 5-under par. 

“I would say she’s got a very well-rounded game, she’s got all the parts,” Brooks said of McMyler’s performance. “That’s what makes her solid, she has great composure.”

Although the San Antonio native started off slow, recording a total score of 72 in the first round, her performance in both round two and round three were key to help Duke down the stretch. After recording a double bogey at the Annika Intercollegiate, McMyler came back by dropping Duke’s only eagle in the sixth hole of the third round. She finished off with a collective score of 208, just three strokes away from the first spot, held by Northwestern’s Lauryn Nguyen. 

Next came Smith, who helped boost the Blue Devils’ score in the first round by recording five birdies. The sophomore more than doubled her ranking, finishing tied for 14th compared to joint-54th last tournament. Freshman Katie Li also rose significantly in the ranking at the Windy City Collegiate, from 49th to joint-41st. 

Even though the team had a solid performance, it has room to improve, especially in its par-3 efficiency, ranking below the average this tournament and second-to-last during the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.

“If you look at the tournament results, the numbers are low this year, so the key is gonna be to go low,” Brooks said about his team’s strategy moving forward. 

Even though golf doesn’t involve as much explicit teamwork and collaboration compared to other sports, the leadership within a team can often boost the collective ego, and hence, increase the chance of winning on the course. 

Brooks believes that this will be an essential factor as Duke looks to maintain the consistency it displayed this week. Most notably, Brinker, the 2022 ACC individual champion, and senior Anne Chen will look to step into leadership roles, along with McMyler.

“I think [Brinker and Chen] both bring important things to our team,” Brooks said. “They have different personalities, both of them are team players and leaders, each in their own way.”

The Blue Devils will certainly feed off this performance as they look to gain victory at the Jackson T. Stephens Cup in Dallas Monday, where they will face the likes of Texas, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Stanford

“We won’t do a lot different, I feel like we’ve got a hard-working group, all you do is get involved in the process,” Brooks said. “You just have to let the scores unfold.” 


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