DURHAM, N.C. – After turning in one of the best overall fall seasons in Duke women’s golf history, the fourth-ranked Blue Devils are set to open the 2018 portion of their 2017-18 campaign February 11-13 at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, which will take place at the 6,017-yard, par 71 Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif.
Duke will go up against a stellar field that includes seven out of the top 10 teams in the nation – UCLA (1), Alabama (2), Duke (4), Stanford (5), Texas (8), Oklahoma State (9) and Southern California (10). Other teams seeing action include Arizona, Arizona State (13), Baylor, Florida (20), Northwestern (12), Ohio State, San Diego State, Tennessee, UNLV, Wake Forest and Washington (17).
In six appearances in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, the Blue Devils have finished in the top five four times, but have never won the tournament. Leona Maguire tied for medalist honors in 2017, while Lindy Duncan won in 2012. The tournament will feature 54 holes with 18 holes being played each day.
The Blue Devils will field a lineup that includes senior Leona Maguire, senior Lisa Maguire, sophomore Ana Belac, freshman Jaravee Boonchant and freshman Miranda Wang. Junior Virginia Elena Carta was scheduled to travel with the Blue Devils but came down with the flu and was forced to stay at home.
In the latest Golfweek individual rankings, Leona Maguire (9), Belac (21), Boonchant (22), Wang (76) and Carta (80) are listed.
For only the third time in school history, the Blue Devils shot under par during the fall. The 59-under was a new Duke record eclipsing the previous mark of 43-under-par from the 2003-04 campaign. Duke won three of four tournaments it competed in – Landfall Tradition, Jim West Challenge and Tar Heel Invitational.
After totaling the second-lowest stroke average in NCAA history as a junior with a 70.29 ledger, Leona Maguire opened her final year with the Blue Devils with an impressive 69.18 mark in the fall. She collected two victories and four top 10 finishes in fall. In the Duke career charts, Maguire ranks third in wins (9), tied second in top five finishes (21), tied third in top 10 finishes (30), tied seventh in top 20 finishes (32), tied second in even or under par rounds (72), second in rounds in the 60s (27) and fourth as Duke’s tournament scorer (25).
Belac kicked off the Landfall Tradition with a career-best and tournament-record six-under-par, 66, and went on to finish in a tie for first at the rain-shortened event, which was her first collegiate victory. Belac, a product of Portoroz, Slovenia, totaled a 70.55 stroke average in the fall with two top five and three top 20 placements.
Boonchant, who hails from Bangkok, Thailand, carded the lowest fall stroke average by a Duke freshman with a 70.27 mark. She notched two top 10 placements and four top 20 finishes. Wang, out of Beijing, China, saw action in three tournaments in the fall and notched a 72.88 stroke average.