DURHAM, N.C.- The third-ranked Duke women’s golf team closed the Cougar Classic on Tuesday afternoon with a team-best seven-under-par, 281, on its way to finishing second overall at the 6,219-yard, par 72 Yeamans Hall Club.
Senior Lindy Duncan continued her outstanding play as she shot a four-under-par, 68, on Tuesday on her way to finishing with a career-best nine-under-par, 207, which placed her second overall for the classic. Her nine-under score was four away from matching the Duke par-72 tournament record of 203 held by Amanda Blumenherst and bested Duncan’s previous career best of 210. Duncan’s second place finish marks the 14th straight time she has finished in the top eight of a tournament.
On Tuesday, Duncan opened with a bogey on her starting hole, No. 3., but immediately turned it around to post five birdies on No. 5, No. 7, No. 9, No. 12 and No. 15 to finish with a four-under-par 68. Over the three days, she shot 68, 70 and 68. A product of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Duncan now owns 21 career rounds in the 60s, which ranks tied for second on the Duke record books along with Liz Janangelo. Duncan also now owns 57 career rounds of even or under par to rank in sole possession of second at Duke. She hit 15 greens, 14 fairways and had 30 putts in the final round.
Taking the individual crown was Florida’s Camilla Hedberg with a 13-under-par, 203.
As a team, the Blue Devils carded a seven-under-par, 281, in the final round on their way to posting a three-day total of 858, which was six-under-par. Duke finished second only six shots behind Florida (852), while Southern California (863), Vanderbilt (864), Georgia (867), Auburn (870), N.C. State (871), Alabama (877), North Carolina (878) and Tennessee (878) closed out the top 10.
“The attitudes couldn’t have been better,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “They were strong at the end. Late birdies are all about attitude.”
The score of 858 by Duke ranks tied for the sixth lowest 54-hole tournament total in school history.
Freshman Yi Ashley Xiao closed her first collegiate tournament with a four-under-par, 68, on Tuesday, which moved her into a tie for 10th place overall with a two-under-par, 214. The native of China posted rounds of 72, 74 and 68 over the three days. Xiao opened her morning with a bogey, but then played her final 17 holes at five-under-par. She hit a lot of great approach shots today and had tap-in birdies on No. 1 and No. 6. Xiao hit 13 greens, 12 fairways and had 28 putts.
“Ashley played really smart golf,” commented Brooks. “That is the thing that was most apparent. She also has a lot of skill.”
Since 1989, Xiao became just the 10th Duke freshman to open her career with a top 10 finish.
Fellow freshman Celine Boutier battled back from three-over-par start over her first five holes to finish with a one-over-par, 73, on Tuesday. A product of Montrouge, France, Boutier finished the classic tied for 25th with a 54-hole total of 218. She played her final 13 holes on Tuesday at two-under-par with birdies on No. 15 and No. 1. Boutier hit 13 fairways, 13 greens and had 33 putts in her round.
With an even-par, 72, on the final day, senior Stacey Kim placed tied for 36th overall with a total of 220. Kim, who is out of Columbus, Ga., was two-over-par through nine holes before birding No. 17 and No. 2 on the way in to finish at even par. She hit 15 greens, 12 fairways and had 32 putts on the day.
Also starting slow with a double-bogey and bogey beginning, junior Laetitia Beck settled down to play her final 16 holes at one-under-par to finish with a 74. Overall, she placed tied for 48th with a 222. Beck, who is a product of Caesarea, Israel, hit 13 greens, 11 fairways and had 35 putts.
As a team, Duke registered a total of 18 birdies on the day. The Blue Devils closed their round with a nine-under-par score over their final eight holes.
Duke will next compete in the NCAA Fall Preview in Athens, Ga., from Oct. 5-7 at the University of Georgia Golf Course.