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Virginia Elena Carta
Carta Wins National Championship, Duke Advances
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 05/24/2016
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EUGENE, Ore. – Duke University freshman Virginia Elena Carta capped off a very impressive four days at the 6,331-yard, par 72 Eugene Country Club by becoming the fourth Blue Devil to win a NCAA title with a NCAA-record 72-hole ledger of 16-under-par, 272.  

Carta, who hails from Udine, Italy, carded rounds of 69, 68, 66 and 69 over the 72 holes to win her first collegiate event and became only the eighth freshman in NCAA history to win the NCAA title.  She won the championship by a NCAA-record eight shots and closed play with only one bogey over her final 53 holes. Her 16-under-par score along with the 72-hole total of 272 were both new NCAA records.  

“I mean, of course this experience was just awesome and great,” said Carta.  “My long game was really, really good the first three days. Today I struggled a little bit because I was really nervous, but my putter has always been with me and made the difference. I scored really well because I was making a lot of putts. I'm really excited. I still can't believe I won. I'm so proud of also the team, and I want to say also thanks to the team and the coaches. They are just great, both Coach [Dan Brooks] and John [Whithaus]. They are awesome.”

Other Blue Devils to win an individual NCAA Championship were Candy Hannemann (2001), Nirapathpongporn (2002) and Anna Grzebien (2005).  Carta joins Grzebien as winners in the state of Oregon (Sunriver, Ore.).  Carta is also the 24th Duke University student-athlete to win a NCAA title.

“It is great and especially her,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks.  “Virginia is a fantastic team member.  It is great to have somebody like her play that well.”

As a team, Duke finished sixth in stroke play on its way to advancing to match play Tuesday morning where the Blue Devils will face third-seeded Southern California beginning at 10 a.m. (ET).  Follow the action with live coverage via the Golf Channel from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and 6:30-10 p.m. (ET).  

UCLA finished first with an eight-under, 1144, while Stanford (1147), Southern California (1150), Washington (1152), Virginia (1155), Duke (1158), South Carolina (1162) and Oregon (1166).

“We wanted to get the No. 1 seed,” said Brooks.  “I think we are a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get that, but we are in match play so it could be a lot worse.  We are going to do our best and get after it.”

The Blue Devils featured a great start to the day that boosted Duke into the team lead by 5:55 p.m. (ET), but were limited to only one birdie on the back nine to fall into sixth.  The top eight teams advanced to match play.  

After totaling a NCAA-record 54-hole score of 203 through Sunday’s play, Carta held a six-stroke lead heading into the final day.  She concluded the action with an eight-shot victory over Dewi Weber of Miami and Haley Moore of Arizona, who finished with an eight-under, 280.  

With cameras following her every move the last two days, Carta didn’t let it bother her and jumped out to quick start Monday with four birdies on the front nine.  She drained a 40-foot putt on the third hole and then holed out from the fourth hole for birdies.  Carta added an eight-foot birdie on No. 7 and then sank a 25-foot birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at four-under, 33.  

Carta headed into the 152-yard, par three 11th with 46 straight holes without a birdie, but the rookie suffered a three-putt to fall back to three-under.  She went on to grind her way through the final seven holes with all pars.  Carta had a key up-and-down for par on No. 16 from the rough.  

“It means a lot,” commented Carta on winning the NCAA title as a freshman.  “As I said, I would have never thought to win this tournament, especially as a freshman. Now my expectations are going to be high. But I mean, it has been a great year. I've been working really hard also with the team, and we've been working so much, so I'm just excited that the work paid off and that my putter finally worked, too.”

She became the first freshman to earn her first collegiate win at NCAAs since 1998.  Carta played the front nine at 12-under-par for the week and led the field with 20 birdies.  She closed her season with her fifth straight top 10 placement.  

“She is strong, she hits it straight and she is flying it high onto these greens,” commented Brooks on what led to Carta’s success this week.  “They actually firmed up a little bit today so that probably helped her. She’s got the whole game.  She has a lot of passion.  All we do is just kind of calm her down.”

Dealing with some type of illness, sophomore Leona Maguire struggled all day finishing with a six-over-par, 78.  She placed tied 32nd overall with a three-over, 291.  Maguire suffered back-to-back bogeys on No. 1 and No. 2 and then had a double-bogey on No. 6 to fall back to four-over.  She connected on her lone birdie of the day on the 331-yard, par four eighth, but finished the round with three bogeys on the back.  Maguire, who is from Cavan, Ireland, had chances for birdies on the way in but couldn’t get them to drop.  

Signing for her third straight even or under par round was junior Sandy Choi, who closed with a 72 Monday.  Choi, a native of Seoul, South Korea, carded rounds of 78, 71, 71 and 72 for a four-over, 292, to finish tied for 36th.  

Choi opened with a par and bogey on her first two holes, before going on a hot streak.  She went on to birdie three straight holes from No. 3-5 and moved to 2-under for the day.  Choi missed the green on No. 7 and suffered a bogey, made a good up-and-down par on No. 8 for par and then had a bogey on No. 9 to make the turn at even-par, 37.  Choi reeled off seven consecutive pars on the back nine and then sank a short birdie on No. 17, which was Duke’s only birdie on the back nine.  On her final hole, her par putt rolled all the way around the cup, but would not fall in and she had a bogey.  She hit 12 fairways, 11 greens and had 29 putts.  

Sophomore Gurbani Singh finished the week with a 77 and placed tied 76th with a 306.  Singh, who is from New Delhi, India, had a great start to her round with a birdie on No. 2.  After missing the green on No. 4, Singh collected a bogey to drop to even par.  Another birdie on the 474-yard, par five seventh moved her back to one-under.  Singh suffered a double-bogey on No. 9 and then had four straight bogeys from holes 12-15 on her way to finishing with a 77.  

Senior Celine Boutier concluded Monday’s action with a 79.  She was only four-over-par through 14 holes, but a triple-bogey on the 510-yard, par five 15th moved her back to seven-over.  Boutier, a product of Montrouge, France, closed with three consecutive pars.

The Golf Channel will provide live coverage Tuesday from 1:30-3:30 p.m., and 6:30-10 p.m. (ET).  Fans can also follow the action via www.GolfStat.com and www.twitter.com/Duke_WGOLF.

Notes:
•    Virginia Elena Carta broke the lowest score to par record by four strokes.  The previous mark was Caroline Hedwall of Oklahoma State  (2010) and Penny Hammel of Miami (1983) at 12-under.
•    Carta held the largest margin of victory at the Women’s NCAA Championship dating back to 2000.  It broke Annie Park’s record of six from 2013.  Duke holds two of the top three on the list as Virada Nirapathpongporn won by five in 2002.  
•    Carta joined the likes of Annie Park (USC, 2013), Austin Ernst (LSU, 2011), Jennifer Rosales (USC, 1998), Marissa Baena (Arizona, 1996), Charlotta Sorenstam (Texas, 1993), Vicki Goetze (Arizona, 1992) and Annika Sorenstam (Arizona, 1991) as freshman to win the NCAA title.
•    Three of the four Duke NCAA individual champions have come on the West Coast as Nirapathpongporn won in Auburn, Wash., and Grzebien won in Sunriver, Ore.  
•    Duke advanced to match play for the second straight season
•    Earlier this season in the East Lake Cup, Southern California defeated Duke, 4-1, in match play.  
•    As a team, Duke played the back nine Monday at eight-over-par and shot a tied for team worst eight-over, 296.  This came a day after shooting eight-under, 280.  

#GoDuke

Duke Results
1 1 Virginia Elena Carta Duke 69 68 66 69 272 -16
T10 T32 Leona Maguire Duke 72 70 71 78 291 +3
T45 T36 Sandy Choi Duke 78 71 71 72 292 +4
T106 T76 Gurbani Singh Duke 83 74 72 77 306 +18
132 84 Celine Boutier Duke 80 77 84 79 320 +32

1 2 3 4 Team Scores
2 3 T2 1 UCLA 286 291 285 282 1144 -8
T12 4 5 2 Stanford 295 283 290 279 1147 -5
T3 1 1 3 Southern California 289 280 291 290 1150 -2
T3 2 4 4 Washington 289 285 292 286 1152 E
T8 15 T8 5 Virginia 293 294 286 282 1155 +3
T21 T9 T2 6 Duke 299 283 280 296 1158 +6
T8 T9 7 7 South Carolina 293 289 290 290 1162 +10
T15 T5 6 8 Oregon 297 282 291 296 1166 +14
T6 8 T10 T9 Northwestern 292 289 295 291 1167 +15
5 7 T8 T9 Arizona 291 289 293 294 1167 +15
1 T5 T10 11 Oklahoma State 284 295 297 292 1168 +16
T6 12 T12 T12 Arkansas 292 291 298 292 1173 +21
23 21 14 T12 Alabama 300 292 290 291 1173 +21
T18 T17 T12 14 North Carolina 298 292 291 294 1175 +23
T12 13 15 15 Florida State 295 290 298 293 1176 +24

Start Finish Player Team Scores
1 1 Virginia Elena Carta Duke 69 68 66 69 272 -16
T2 T2 Dewi Weber * Miami 69 66 74 71 280 -8
T7 T2 Haley Moore Arizona 68 70 74 68 280 -8
T2 T4 Cheyenne Knight Alabama 69 69 71 73 282 -6
T5 T4 Anna Newell * Tennessee 69 67 75 71 282 -6
T12 T6 Casey Danielson Stanford 71 70 74 68 283 -5
T15 T6 Lilia Vu UCLA 73 72 71 67 283 -5
T2 T6 Jennifer Kupcho * Wake Forest 69 73 67 74 283 -5
T7 9 Bronte Law UCLA 71 72 69 72 284 -4
T15 10 Tiffany Chan Southern California 71 71 74 70 286 -2
T27 T11 Ying Luo Washington 75 68 75 69 287 -1
T27 T11 Shannon Aubert Stanford 74 72 72 69 287 -1
T15 T11 Stephanie Lau Northwestern 71 71 74 71 287 -1
T12 T11 Louise Ridderstrom UCLA 69 73 73 72 287 -1
T10 T11 Katelyn Dambaugh South Carolina 69 73 71 74 287 -1
T5 T16 Caroline Inglis Oregon 73 65 73 77 288 E
T15 T16 Rio Watanabe * Ohio State 70 68 78 72 288 E
T24 T16 Ainhoa Olarra South Carolina 73 71 73 71 288 E
T7 T16 Lauren Coughlin Virginia 72 72 68 76 288 E
T27 T20 Kelly Grassel * Florida 74 72 72 71 289 +1
T27 T20 Morgane Metraux Florida State 70 72 76 71 289 +1
T15 T20 Wenyung Keh Washington 73 74 69 73 289 +1
T24 T20 Taylor Totland * Furman 76 72 69 72 289 +1
T27 T20 Alana Uriell Arkansas 70 74 74 71 289 +1
T27 T20 Sarah Schmelzel South Carolina 75 71 72 71 289 +1
T41 T20 Elizabeth Szokol Virginia 75 70 74 70 289 +1
T45 T27 Lauren Kim Stanford 74 72 74 70 290 +2
T27 T27 Mariah Stackhouse Stanford 79 69 70 72 290 +2
T12 T27 Linnea Johansson Oklahoma State 73 71 71 75 290 +2
T41 T27 Bethany Wu UCLA 73 74 72 71 290 +2
T15 T27 Karen Chung Southern California 73 69 74 74 290 +2
T58 T32 Charlotte Thomas Washington 75 71 75 70 291 +3
T15 T32 August Kim * Purdue 68 75 73 75 291 +3
T10 T32 Leona Maguire Duke 72 70 71 78 291 +3
T58 T32 Lauren Diaz-Yi Virginia 74 77 70 70 291 +3
T27 T36 Kendra Dalton * Brigham Young 72 76 70 74 292 +4
T27 T36 Elizabeth Mallett North Carolina 75 71 72 74 292 +4
T45 T36 Petra Salko Oregon 74 74 72 72 292 +4
T15 T36 Julianne Alvarez Washington 71 72 73 76 292 +4
T24 T36 Cathleen Santoso Oregon 72 70 75 75 292 +4
T15 T36 Hannah Kim Northwestern 74 72 70 76 292 +4
T45 T36 Kenzie Neisen Oklahoma State 71 75 74 72 292 +4
T45 T36 Cara Gorlei Arkansas 73 71 76 72 292 +4
T45 T36 Sandy Choi Duke 78 71 71 72 292 +4
T27 T36 Kyung Kim Southern California 71 70 77 74 292 +4
T27 T46 Lexi Harkins North Carolina 76 74 68 75 293 +5
T45 T46 Chih-Min Chen Oklahoma State 69 78 73 73 293 +5
T58 T46 Gabriella Then Southern California 74 76 71 72 293 +5
T27 T49 Andrea Wong * UC Davis 77 74 67 76 294 +6
T81 T49 Janie Jackson Alabama 76 76 72 70 294 +6
T76 T49 Kacie Komoto Northwestern 74 73 76 71 294 +6
T58 T49 Janet Mao Northwestern 73 73 75 73 294 +6
T81 T53 Lydia Gumm Florida State 75 75 74 71 295 +7
T58 T53 Maria Fassi Arkansas 78 72 71 74 295 +7
T96 T53 Morgan Gonzales Virginia 74 77 75 69 295 +7
T70 T53 Anna Redding Virginia 73 75 74 73 295 +7
T70 T53 Krystal Quihuis Arizona 73 74 75 73 295 +7
T41 T53 Lindsey Weaver Arizona 74 74 71 76 295 +7
T70 T59 Leslie Cloots North Carolina 74 76 72 74 296 +8
T45 T59 Robynn Ree Southern California 78 70 72 76 296 +8
T90 T61 Kelly Whaley North Carolina 73 71 81 72 297 +9
T58 T61 Matilda Castren Florida State 75 73 73 76 297 +9
T76 T61 Emma Talley Alabama 77 73 73 74 297 +9
T70 64 Maddie McCrary Oklahoma State 72 71 79 76 298 +10
T81 65 Kayla Jones Florida State 75 70 79 75 299 +11
T96 T66 Lakareber Abe Alabama 78 74 74 74 300 +12
T100 T66 Kathleen Scavo Oregon 78 78 71 73 300 +12
T81 T66 Sarah Cho Northwestern 74 73 77 76 300 +12
T90 T66 Regina Plasencia Arkansas 73 74 78 75 300 +12
T76 T66 Jessica Vasilic Arizona 76 74 73 77 300 +12
T100 71 Sarah Rhee Washington 70 75 82 74 301 +13
T110 72 Emma Broze Oklahoma State 72 79 79 72 302 +14
T106 T73 Marcella Pranovia Oregon 81 73 75 76 305 +17
T100 T73 Sierra Kersten Stanford 76 76 75 78 305 +17
T113 T73 Marion Veysseyre South Carolina 78 79 74 74 305 +17
T113 T76 Summar Roachell Arkansas 76 78 77 75 306 +18
T106 T76 Gurbani Singh Duke 83 74 72 77 306 +18
T110 78 Kim Metraux Florida State 79 76 75 78 308 +20
T123 T79 Bryana Nguyen North Carolina 76 80 79 74 309 +21
T118 T79 Hadas Libman UCLA 78 76 79 76 309 +21
T113 81 Isi Nilsson South Carolina 76 74 81 81 312 +24
T123 82 Gigi Stoll Arizona 82 71 82 78 313 +25
T128 83 Nicole Morales Alabama 78 81 79 76 314 +26
132 84 Celine Boutier Duke 80 77 84 79 320 +32

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