Head Women’s Golf Coach Dan Brooks has built a dynasty at Duke University and he supplanted his name and the Blue Devils once again atop the women’s golf nation in 2007 by taking home Duke’s fifth overall and third straight NCAA Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla.
At the LPGA International Legends Course, Brooks guided Duke to a runaway title and matched Arizona State as the only squads to win three consecutive national championships. The Blue Devils are now only one title shy from equaling ASU’s number of six championships.
The 2006-07 campaign saw a fall season that included two victories in five tournaments, including wins at the season-opening Mason Rudolph Championship and the final fall tournament, which was the NGCA Women’s Collegiate Match Play Championship.
In the spring, the Blue Devils opened with a second place finish at the Wildcat Invitational, while sophomore Amanda Blumenherst heated up her play as she recorded her first of a school-record three straight victories in the spring. Duke went on to win the next two tournaments prior to collecting a fourth place tally at the Bryan National Collegiate to conclude the regular season.
Once again, the Blue Devils claimed the ACC Championship with a 35-stroke victory, which marked Duke’s 12th straight ACC title. Blumenherst won her second straight ACC individual crown to become the third Blue Devil to win multiple ACC titles.
The NCAA season was set to begin in May where the Blue Devils have shined over the last eight years. Duke traveled to Baton Rouge, La., for the East Regional where they had won the 2002 East Region title.
The Blue Devils started slow as Duke was tied for 10th after day one and third place after the second round, but was still eight strokes off leader, UCLA. Duke had not played poorly the first two rounds, but just couldn’t get any putts to drop. If the team was able to get putts to start falling, the day could be special.
Special was what it was on Saturday, May 12 as the Blue Devils went out and shot a school-record 16-under-par, 271, and won the regional by two strokes over UCLA. The round was catapulted by Blumenherst’s NCAA record-tying nine-under-par, 63, and the other four Duke golfers each shot under par.
Duke headed to the NCAA Championship with excellent momentum coming off the 16-under-par ledger in regional action, but opened the first round in fifth place five shots off leader Southern California. The Blue Devils were not happy with the first day of play and came back in the second round to post a team-best one-under-par, 287.
With seven birdies over the first five holes, Duke took the NCAA Championship lead just an hour and 15 minutes into the second round and would never let it go over the next three days to claim its third straight title. Leading Duke’s charge over the final three days of play was the lone senior on the squad, Anna Grzebien.
After opening the tournament with an 80, Grzebien lit a fire under herself and posted rounds of 70, 72 and 70 to finish in sixth place. Grzebien, who was the 2005 NCAA Individual Champion, was bound and determined to close her career with three consecutive titles.
Duke led by seven strokes after two rounds and eight strokes after three days of play. The Blue Devils never let down and carded a remarkable 15-stroke victory even though the field had to battle wind gusts the entire week of 10-25 miles per hour and a very difficult course.
When the final round was done, the Blue Devils collected three golfers in the top seven of the individual race as Blumenherst was fourth, Grzebien was sixth and sophomore Jennie Lee was tied for seventh. Junior Jennifer Pandolfi added a 17th place finish, while freshman Alison Whitaker was 46th. Lee’s seventh place finish marked her second straight top-10 ledger in two appearances in the NCAA Championship.
With the tremendous coaching job, Brooks was tabbed NGCA National Coach of the Year and Blumenherst received her second straight PING NGCA College Player of the Year award. This came after posting a school-record 71.00 stroke average on the season.