DURHAM, N.C.-- The fourth-ranked Duke women's golf team received its 18th consecutive bid to participate in NCAA Regional action on Monday as the Blue Devils were seeded No. 1 in the East Region and will next travel to Greenville, N.C., from May 6-8 to play for an invitation to the NCAA Championship. The regional will be played at the 6,325-yard, Par 72 Ironwood Golf Club.
"We are really happy being seeded No. 1 in the East Region," said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. "It is a matter of conserving energy. Regionals is right on top of finals weeks, so this should allow us time to take some tests before we hop in the van and drive to Greenville. It's much better than flying all the way to Stanford or Indiana. It should be a positive for our team."
Other teams competing in the East Region are Auburn, Wake Forest, Pepperdine, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, TCU, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tulane, Chattanooga, Washington, Texas Tech, Georgia State, Campbell, East Tennessee State, Furman, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, College of Charleston, Stetson, Charleston Southern and Farleigh Dickinson. The following individuals will also be competing -- Sofia Hagsund (UNCW), Shana Young (South Florida) and Nicole Sakamota (James Madison).
The regional will be a three-day, 54-hole tournament with 18 holes played each day. Duke will open action on Thursday, May 6 at 9:00 a.m.
"Ironwood is a good golf course, but we are going to have to play well," said Brooks. "It is not an extremely challenging golf course so there will be a lot of teams playing well there. You can count on it."
The top eight teams and top two individuals (not on one of those eight teams) advance on to the NCAA Championships to be played May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. The Blue Devils have won a total of five NCAA Championships over the last 11 years ---1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Earlier this season, Duke played at the NCAA Fall Preview at the Landfall Course and came from 10 shots down entering the final round to win by one stroke over UCLA and Auburn. Senior Alison Whitaker placed tied for fifth, while freshman Stacey Kim (T12) and freshman Lindy Duncan (T20) also turned in top 20 finishes. In the final round, four of the five Blue Devil golfers notched a 73 or better.
Duke is currently ranked fourth nationally in the latest Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll, while being No. 8 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. In the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index individual rankings five Blue Devils are ranked, Duncan (11th), Whitaker (60th), Kim Donovan (63rd), Courtney Ellenbogen (91st) and Kim (96th).
"We are excited about getting going," commented Brooks. "I have them practicing on their own this week going into finals. Jus so they can use their time wisely and hopefully charge their batteries up a little bit before we play on Thursday."
The Blue Devils are coming off finishing third at the ACC Championship on April 20 followed by a third place showing at the Tri Match at Ironwood II. The Tri Match was held on April 24 with Duke playing without freshman Stacey Kim, who was out with a back injury. Duke turned in rounds of 299 and 295 to finish with a 36-hole total of 594 behind East Carolina (585) and South Carolina (588). Donovan finished second overall with rounds of 72 and 70.
Brooks is in his 26th season with the Blue Devils and has led Duke to a NCAA-record 110 career wins. He has taken his squads to the NCAA Regionals every year since 1993. Duke has claimed East Region titles on seven occasions -- 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007.