WILMINGTON, N.C. – After opening the day with a solid start and holding a lead midway through the first round, the Blue Devils slipped to second place after 18 holes at the Landfall Tradition, which is being played at the 6,204-yard, par 72 Country Club of Landfall.
The Blue Devils held a three-stroke lead through approximately 12 holes, but dropped eight shots over the final five holes to finish with a seven-over-par, 295. Alabama did the opposite as the Tide shot nine-under-par over the final three holes to card a three-under-par, 285, to take the lead. Duke is 10 shots out of first, while South Carolina (300), Arizona (304), North Carolina (305), Virginia (306), Wake Forest (306), Clemson (307), Oklahoma State (307) and Michigan State (309) rounded out the top 10.
Duke sophomore Celine Boutier held the individual lead at three-under-par before suffering a double-bogey on the 390-yard, par four 14th and a bogey on the 16th to close with an even-par, 72. A product of Montrouge, France, Boutier is sixth overall in the individual standings.
Senior Laetitia Beck registered two birdies and three bogeys on her way to totaling a one-over-par, 73, to open the tournament in a tie for seventh. Beck, who is from Caesarea, Israel, snapped a streak of three straight rounds of even or under par as she hit 13 greens, 14 fairways and had 34 putts on the day.
Continuing her solid play to open her Duke career, freshman Yu Liu carded a two-over-par, 74, in Friday’s first round and is tied 10th. Liu, who is out of Beijing, China, had an even-par round going until she suffered a triple-bogey on No. 14, but a birdie on the 470-yard, par five 18th gave her a 74 for the day.
Rookie Sandy Choi collected five bogeys over her first 12 holes of the day, before settling down to play her final six holes at one-under-par. Choi, a native of San Diego, Calif., rolled in a putt on the 158-yard, par three 16th for her lone birdie of the day. She hit 13 fairways, 10 greens and had 32 putts in her round as she posted a four-over-par, 76.
Making her collegiate debut on Friday in Wilmington, N.C., was freshman Esther Lee. Lee, who is out of Los Alamitos, Calif., opened the day bogey, par and double-bogey to fall to three-over-par. She settled down to play the next 10 holes at even par. Lee closed with four bogeys over her final five holes to finish with a 79 and is tied for 47th overall. She hit a team-high 15 greens, while hitting 11 fairways and totaling 37 putts.
Playing as an individual this weekend, senior Alejandra Cangrejo continued to struggle as she finished with an 80. She posted two birdies, while hitting 13 fairways, eight greens and totaling 32 putts.
As a team, the Blue Devils carded 10 birdies, but Duke had a hard time with No. 14 going six-over-par as a group.
Duke will tee off on Saturday beginning at 10:09 a.m., along with Alabama and South Carolina.