GREENSBORO, N.C. – The second round was moving day for the third-ranked Duke women’s golf team Friday at the ACC Championship as the Blue Devils carded a one-over-par, 285, and now holds a 14-stroke lead with 18 holes remaining at the 6,107-yard, par 71 Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Looking to claim her third straight individual title, Blue Devil sophomore Celine Boutier fired a two-under-par, 69, in the second round and now leads by three strokes heading into Saturday’s final round. A product of Montrouge, France, Boutier (140) leads by three over Florida State’s Matilda Castren (143). Boutier is coming off registering titles at the Bryan National Collegiate and the PING/ASU Invitational, while looking for her first ACC title.
“I played really well so I am glad I shot under par because I hit it close to the pin and then my putting was much better than yesterday,” said Boutier. “I feel like the last five holes you can make birdies. The two par fives are reachable. I am really glad that I managed to birdie those on the way in.”
As a team, Duke holds a 36-hole ledger of 576 and leads by 14 strokes over Virginia. The Blue Devils and Cavaliers entered Friday tied with a 291 following Thursday’s round. The Cavaliers turned in a 299 in the second round to fall behind Duke. The Blue Devils are the two-time defending ACC Champions and have won a total of 18 ACC titles, including 17 under Duke head coach Dan Brooks.
“Well today wasn’t looking that great to me,” commented Brooks. “Of course, Laetitia was not having a great day so I spent a lot of time with her. She got it together on the backside. While we were together, the others were making some birdies coming in. There was a lot of great golf going on, but I didn’t see a lot because I was focused in on one or two players.”
Rounding out the team scores were Virginia (590), North Carolina (597), Miami (599), NC State (600), Florida State (605), Notre Dame (609), Maryland (611), Clemson (611), Wake Forest (617) and Boston College (644).
After opening with three birdies over a span of four holes Thursday, Boutier suffered a three-putt bogey on the first hole Friday. She settled down and birdied holes four and five to get to one-under-par for the day. Boutier moved to two-under after a birdie on the 152-yard, par three 12th, but suffered a double-bogey on No. 14 to fall back to even par.
“She is just doing great,” Brooks said about the play of Boutier. “I think she is a little happier on the golf course. She seems to be handling the ups and downs a little bit better and that is great. She has controlled her expectations pretty well after having won two tournaments individually. She seems to be handling that pretty well.”
Heading into the final four holes, which featured two par fives, Boutier finished strong with short birdie putts on both par fives, No. 15 and No. 18, to close at 2-under-par, 69.
“It is nice to see that,” commented Brooks. “We just have to keep fighting and do the same thing. We have our sights set on big things. We need to keep fighting and do our best.”
Carding an even-par, 71, in the second round was Choi, who moved into sixth overall with a 36-hole ledger of 146. A product of San Diego, Calif., Choi had a solid start with an even-par front nine that included seven pars, one bogey and one birdie on the 345-yard, par four ninth hole. She opened her back nine with bogeys on No. 10 and No. 12, but closed strong birding both par fives – No. 15 and No. 18 with very short putts. She hit 13 fairways, 10 greens and had a team-best 28 putts.
Liu, a freshman out of Beijing, China, collected four consecutive pars to open her second round before tapping in for birdie on the 483-yard, par five fifth hole. She went on to make the turn at one-over, 36, after suffering bogeys on No. 6 and No. 9. Liu opened her back nine with a two-foot birdie on the 11th and moved to one-under-par, after rolling in a three-foot birdie on No. 15. She closed with a bogey on No. 16 and No. 17 to finish with a 73. Liu hit 14 greens, 10 fairways and had 33 putts on the day.
After opening with four bogeys over her first six holes, Beck settled down to shoot even-par over her final 12 holes of action. The senior got in trouble off the tee on No. 15 and had to take a drop, but regrouped on No. 17 with a birdie to finish with a 75. Beck hit 10 greens, seven fairways and had 33 putts.
Rebounding from a 79 on day one, senior Alejandra Cangrejo had a solid day on the course posting a 73 and is tied 24th overall with a 152. Cangrejo, a native of Bogota, Colombia, had five straight pars to open her day before suffering bogeys on No. 6 and No. 7. She carded a five-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to get back to one-over for the day. Cangrejo had bogeys on the 12th and 14th holes, but had a nice birdie on the 15th to get back to two-over. She hit 11 greens, eight fairways and had 31 putts for the day.
As a team, Duke registered 14 birdies on the day, including six on holes No. 15 and No. 18. The Blue Devils will tee off beginning at 9:20 a.m., along with North Carolina and Virginia in the final round. Inclement weather is expected to hit the area on Friday evening and the ACC will release in the morning if tee times will change.
“It was a little gustier today,” said Brooks on the conditions. “It was probably not any more wind but it was gustier. It was difficult to know what club to pull out. I would say it was similar in difficulty to the first round.”
Other Duke Notes: • Duke played the par fives in the second round at seven-under-par. • Overall, Duke has won the ACC Championship in 1984, ‘85, ‘93, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, ‘01, ‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ’07, ’08, ’12, ‘13. • Eleven different Blue Devils have claimed individual honors at the ACC Championship— Mary Anne Widman (1984), Evelyn Orley (1985), Kathi Poppmeier (1994), Jenny Chuasiriporn (1996 & 1997), Beth Bauer (1999), Maria Garcia-Estrada (2000), Virada Nirapathpongporn (2001), Candy Hannemann (2002), Brittany Lang (2004 & 2005), Blumenherst (2006, 2007 & 2008), Lindy Duncan (2012). • Brooks is in his 30th season with the Blue Devils. He is a 12-time ACC Coach of the Year selection and has led Duke to an NCAA-record 117 victories. Brooks has guided the Blue Devils to NCAA Championships in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. • A Blue Devil individual has claimed medalist honors at each of the last three events Duke has competed in.