NORMAN, Okla. – The top-seeded and third-ranked Duke women’s golf team opened the 2013 NCAA Central Regional on Thursday with a four-under-par, 284, and sits only two shots off the lead with 36 holes remaining at the 6,298-Yard, Par 72 Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.
“I am glad we got the round in,” said Brooks. “It is starting to rain right now and I don’t know if the afternoon groups are going to get in. I am excited about the play. I feel good about it.”
Florida holds the team lead, following a six-under-par, 282, ledger on day one. Oklahoma (283) is second with Duke (284), TCU (290), Michigan State (291), UC Davis (291), Arizona State (292), Mississippi State (292), Wisconsin (292) and Indiana (292) rounding out the top 10.
“Particularly at regionals, it is nice to get off to a good start,” commented Brooks. “We are going to keep fighting and try to win this. It has to do with seeding at the Championship. You want to get a good pairing, and that is based on how you finish here. So we have a good reason to try to win this.”
Seeing action in her fourth regional, senior Lindy Duncan turned in a three-under-par, 69, on Friday and is tied for third, individually, through 18 holes. A product of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Duncan carded three birdies and no bogeys in round one as she posted her seventh even or under par ledger out of 10 career rounds in regional play.
“The course was playing tough,” said Duncan. “The wind was interesting. It is a tough golf course so you really have to hit fairways and greens. I think we did a good job of that today.”
The reigning National Player of the Year opened her day with a short birdie putt on No. 2 as she stuck her approach within two feet. After a great sand save on No. 4, Duncan went to two-under-par following a 12-footer for birdie on the 531-yard, par five fifth hole. She had another sand save on No. 12 and then drained a 15-foot birdie on No. 13 to move to three-under. Duncan missed the green on the 394-yard, par four 16th, but was able to roll in a nine-foot par putt to stay at three-under-par. She hit 13 greens, nine fairways and had 28 putts on the day.
“So far we are right there – only two shots back,” commented Duncan. “We know that is nothing to overcome. We have two more days and hopefully we have some good weather tomorrow.”
Turning in a tied for her best 18-hole total of the season was freshman Celine Boutier with a two-under-par, 70. She is tied for tied for ninth heading into Saturday’s action. On the front nine, Boutier registered birdies on both par fives as she rolled in a 12-footer on No. 5 and a 15-footer on No. 8 to move to two-under-par on the day. Boutier, who is from Montrouge, France, then sank a four-foot birdie on the 299-yard, par four 10th to get to three-under. She went on to miss two straight greens on No. 11 and No. 12 to the left. Boutier had a great up-and-down on the 11th, but suffered her only bogey of the day on the next hole. She closed with six straight pars as she hit 12 fairways, 11 greens and had a team-best 25 putts.
Junior Alejandra Cangrejo opened her day with nine consecutive pars before sticking her approach shot on No. 10 to within two feet. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Cangrejo hit her 60-degree wedge from 70 yards to two feet and made birdie. More pars followed but after her tee shot on the 385-yard, par four 14th went to the right into the trees, she went on to suffer her only bogey of the day. Cangrejo closed with four pars to finish with a 72 and is tied for 26th overall. She hit 12 greens, 12 fairways and had 30 putts.
Seeing action in her third regional over her four-year career, Courtney Ellenbogen had a solid day as she turned in an one-over-par, 73, and is tied for 35th. Ellenbogen, who is out of Blacksburg, Va., opened with a two-over-par, 38, on the front nine with bogeys on No. 4 and No. 9. She turned in a key sand save on No. 16 and followed that with her lone birdie of the day on the 376-yard, par four 17th as she rolled in a 30-foot putt. She hit 13 fairways, 13 greens and had 31 putts on the morning. Ellenbogen also had three up-and-downs over her 18 holes.
Coming off a second place finish at the ACC Championship, junior Laetitia Beck kicked off regional action with a two-over-par, 74, and is tied for 48th. She suffered a three-putt bogey on No. 1, but came back to roll in a short putt on the 298-yard, par four third hole. Beck had bogeys on No. 4 and No. 6 to drop back to two-over-par, which is where she made the turn.
On the short 10th hole, Beck carded her second eagle of the season as she hit her 60-degree wedge from 67 yards out. Her ball hit two yards in front of the cup and rolled in one of four eagles on the day to move her back to even par. The Caesarea, Israel standout closed with bogeys on No. 14 and No. 18 to finish with a 74. Beck hit 11 greens, eight fairways and had 32 putts on the day.
As a team, Duke’s 18-hole total of four-under-par, 284, was the fifth-best total of the season. The Blue Devils posted nine birdies on the day. Duke stretch where Boutier had a birdie on No. 8 and No. 10, Beck eagled No. 10 and Cangrejo birdied No. 10, gave the Blue Devils the team lead. The squad stayed in the lead until the Blue Devils suffered two bogeys on No. 14.
Duke will tee off on Friday in the second round along with Florida and Oklahoma beginning at 12:56 p.m., off No. 10.