DURHAM, N.C. - Duke University's Lindy Duncan opened the 2011 NCAA Women's Golf Championship on Wednesday with an even-par, 72, and is tied for 10th at the 6,260-yard, par 72 Traditions Club in College Station, Texas.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Duncan started with two pars but then hit a fairway bunker on the third hole and ended up with a bogey to move to one-over-par. She then had a three-putt on the 539-yard, par five fifth hole before settling down to make her first of three birdies on the day.
"It was a really good day," said Duncan. "I played real solid, especially on the back nine. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens -- just did what I needed to do and stayed very patient. It was a good day."
Duncan drained a 20-foot putt for birdie on the 354-yard, par four sixth hole but gave a shot back two holes later with her final bogey of the day. She went on to play the next 10 holes at two-under-par.
"The national championships and all the big tournaments, there is a real premium on hitting a lot of fairways and greens," commented Duncan. "Especially greens out here, there are some tiers and if you hit the ball pretty close to the pins you are going to have an advantage because the putting out here is pretty tricky."
The solid play over the final 10 holes were keyed by excellent pars on the ninth and 10th holes to give her confidence. On No. 9, Duncan hit a 5-iron into the wind and finished with a two-putt par and then on the 10th hole she hit a good approach into a hole with a tricky pin placement.
Her two birdies on the back nine came on the 372-yard, par four 12th, when she rolled in a 10-footer for birdie. Duncan also sank a 25-footer for birdie on the 16th hole as well.
"She got off to a little bit of a jittery start -- not real solid but not bad," said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. "She seemed to stay very patient through that, settled down and played really good golf the last three-quarters of her round. Particularly for the first day to shoot even par is really good golf. There are a few people who are lower than that but even is a good score the first day. It is a good, solid Jack Nicklaus golf course. It has very well-bunkered greens, a lot of hazards -- it is not that easy to go under par."
She hit 10 consecutive greens in regulation to close out the day and finished with 14 greens total on the day. Duncan also hit 11 fairways and had 32 putts on the day.
Leading the tournament is Virginia's Brittany Altomare with a three-under-par, 69. A total of nine golfers shot under par on day one. In the team standings, UCLA shot a 289 and leads by two over Virginia (291) with Purdue (292), LSU (292) and Florida (294) rounding out the top five.
Duncan played on Wednesday with Florida State's Jessica Negron and Georgia's Marta Silva Zamora. The trio will go off No. 10 on Thursday at 1:25 p.m. All times listed are central.
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