FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second time over the last three days, the Duke women’s golf team left the course at the NCAA Championship without concluding their round at the 6,397-yard, par 73 Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
Four of the five Blue Devils finished play, while junior Ana Belac is on the No. 18 tee with one hole remaining. Play was officially halted at 9:14 p.m. (ET) due to darkness. A total of six teams didn’t finish medal round play Monday and will return at 7:45 a.m. (ET) Tuesday morning to conclude action.
At 5:20 p.m. (ET) the horn sounded Monday afternoon due to an incoming storm, before resuming action at 7 p.m. (ET).
Duke, which headed into Monday’s final round of stroke play with a nine-stroke lead, was not quite as sharp as the second round. The Blue Devils currently stand at 12-over-par for the third round and 14-over-par for the tournament, which is second overall behind Texas (+6). Rounding out the top eight teams on the line to advance to Tuesday’s match play is Southern California (+17), Arkansas (+24), Wake Forest (+26), Arizona (+28), Stanford (+30) and Auburn (+38).
Of the teams above the line to advance to match play, Texas, Duke, Southern California and Auburn were not able to conclude their rounds. The quarterfinal round of match play will begin at 9 a.m. (ET).
Sophomore Jaravee Boonchant led the Blue Devils Monday with a one-over-par, 74, and currently stands tied for seventh with a two-over, 221, over the 54 holes. Boonchant started her day off on hole No. 1 and registered just the 14th birdie of the morning on the third-hardest hole on the course Monday. She hit her 5-iron from 165 yards to eight feet and sank the putt.
A product of Bangkok, Thailand, Boonchant would get in trouble in the fairway bunker on No. 4 and wound up with a double-bogey, but she came back on the par five fifth hole with a bang. Boonchant hit an approach that hit the pin and settled a foot away from the cup and sank the birdie. It was a hair away from being an eagle. After four straight pars to conclude the front nine, she sank a six-foot birdie on No. 10. Boonchant added a sand save for par on No. 11, but had a double-bogey on the challenging 12th hole, which played as the hardest hole on the course in the third round. She two-putted from 21 feet on No. 15 for birdie and closed with a bogey on No. 18 as darkness came in. Boonchant hit 12 greens, 12 fairways and had 31 putts.
Freshman Gina Kim closed her stroke play portion of the tournament with a 75, which included three birdies. She was even par on the day through eight holes as she had six pars, a bogey on No. 4 and she hit her 60-degree wedge from 80 yards on No. 6 to two feet for birdie on No. 6. Kim added a bogey on No. 9 to make the turn at one-over, 38.
On the back, Kim parred the first two holes, but then got in trouble off the tee on the 390-yard, par four 12th and finished with a triple-bogey. Kim came back on No. 13 to hit her 8-iron from 151 yards to one foot for birdie and then drained another birdie on No. 15 on her way to finishing with a 75. She hit 13 greens, 13 fairways and had 31 putts.
Sophomore Miranda Wang had an up-and-down front nine with four pars, two birdies and three bogeys as she carded a one-over, 38. She struggled at the beginning of the back nine with four bogeys over her first five holes, but settled down with four pars to conclude the round with a 78. Wang, who is from Beijing, China, hit a team-high 15 greens, 10 fairways and had 33 putts.
After a rough start to her round with four bogeys over a five-hole span, senior Virginia Elena Carta settled down to play her final 13 holes at even par. She collected her first birdie on the 300-yard, par four sixth hole as she hit her approach from the rough from 88 yards with her 54-degree wedge to one foot. Carta, a product of Udine, Italy, then two-putted for birdie on No. 7 to return to two-over-par. On the back nine, Carta added a birdie on No. 13 from six feet, but had three bogeys as well. She finished the day with a four-over, 77. Carta hit 13 greens, 10 fairways and rolled 36 putts.
Belac entered the final round in fifth overall, but struggled most of the day as she was seven-over through 17 holes. Over her final five holes she regained her form as she was one-under-par during those holes with a birdie on No. 14. Belac, who hails from Portoroz, Slovenia, will play No. 18 Tuesday morning to close her third round.
Arkansas’ Maria Fassi won the NCAA Individual title with an eight-under, 211.
The Golf Channel will feature live coverage from 12-2:30 p.m. (ET) of the quarterfinals of match play and then from 5-9 p.m., for the semifinals of match play. The semifinals of match play is scheduled to start 3:20 p.m. (ET) Tuesday afternoon as well.
Duke has advanced to match play in three out of the four years since the championship has moved to match play to decide the NCAA Champion.