BLUE DEVILS HEAD TO AUBURN REGIONAL
After being tabbed a No. 1 seed for the 12th time out of the last 19 years, the second-ranked Duke women’s golf team will head to Opelika, Ala., May 6-8 for the NCAA Auburn Regional at the 6,371-yard, par 72 Saugahatchee Country Club.
Other years the Blue Devils have been seeded No. 1 a total of 13 times -- 2019, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1993.
The Blue Devils, who are currently listed at No. 2 in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index will be joined in the regional along with Vanderbilt (7), Florida State (9), Auburn (13), Virginia (17), Furman (26), Clemson (29), Houston (32), Kennesaw State (41), Alabama (36), Tennessee (35), California (47), Maryland (48), East Carolina, Denver, South Alabama, Albany and Murray State. The teams are listed in seed order and the rankings in parentheses are from the Golfweek team rankings.
The top four seeds in the regions were – Southern California (Cle Elum), Duke (Auburn), Texas (Norman), Stanford (East Lansing).
Duke will tee off Monday, May 6 at 9 a.m. (ET) off hole No. 1 along with Vanderbilt and Florida State. Tee times for Tuesday and Wednesday will be determined by standings beginning at 9 a.m. (ET).
The regional will be a three-day, 54-hole tournament with 18 holes played each day. The top six teams and top three individuals (not on one of those six teams) advance to the NCAA Championship to be played May 17-22 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Fans will be able to follow the action with live scoring at www.GolfStat.com each of the three days.
Golf Channel will deliver expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA regional championship, Wednesday, May 8. Coverage will feature updates throughout the day that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and through Golf Channel social media handles, concluding with live news segments announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the national championship.
Coverage can also be found on Duke accounts via Twitter (@DukeWGOLF), Instagram (DukeWGolf) and Facebook (DukeWGolf) for all three days of the regional.
THE DUKE LINEUP
Duke will feature a lineup of senior Virginia Elena Carta, junior Ana Belac, sophomore Jaravee Boonchant, redshirt sophomore Miranda Wang and freshman Gina Kim. The Blue Devils have featured this lineup in all eight tournaments this season.
BIRDIES FOR BABIES
Spearheaded by senior Virginia Elena Carta, the Blue Devils have continued their fundraising program benefitting the Duke Children’s Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units called Birdies for Babies. In the second year, Duke has raised $20,023 so far this season, which includes the Blue Devil men’s golf program in 2018-19. Over the first two years of the program, it has raised over $30,000.
Those looking to support the partnership with the Duke Children’s can make pledges per birdie. Pledges will start at $0.50 and high pledge increments are welcome. If the Blue Devils register an eagle (counts as two birdies), albatross (three birdies) and hole-in-one (four birdies) they will count as stated. Each pledge will receive an autographed photo of the Duke women’s golf team.
For more information, head to https://www.bluedevilsbirdiesforbabies.org/
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Duke is currently ranked No. 2 in the latest Golfweek, No. 2 in the WGCA Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the GolfStat.com ledgers.
Individually, in the Golfweek rankings -- Jaravee Boonchant (9), Ana Belac (23), Virginia Elena Carta (33), and Gina Kim (55) are in the top 60. In the GolfStat.com listing, Boonchant (9), Belac (27), Carta (38), Kim (54) are ranked.
Duke is the only ACC school to feature four golfers in the top 55 of the Golfweek and GolfStat rankings. The Blue Devils are tied for the second most golfers in the top 55 in GolfStat ledger -- (Southern California - 5, Duke & Texas - 4).
DUKE HEADS BACK TO AUBURN
The Blue Devils will head back to Auburn, Ala., for the second time in a little over a month. Duke competed in the Evans Derby Experience March 23-25 at the Saugahatchee Country Club. With rounds of 293, 289 and 292 for a 54-hole ledger of 874 to finish in a tie for second along with Texas and Arkansas. Florida State (870) won the tournament.
Ana Belac and Miranda Wang tied for 19th, while all five Blue Devils placed in the top 30.
Duke has played one other regional in Opelika, Ala., in school history as the Blue Devils saw action at the Grand National in 1996. The Blue Devils placed first out of 19 teams with rounds of 308, 298 and 299 for a 905.
BLUE DEVILS IN THE NCAA’S
This marks the 27th consecutive year there has been a regional system for women’s golf. Duke has advanced 23 of the last 25 times, finishing in the top four of the regional in 21 of the 23 years the squad has advanced.
Duke has posted five individual medalists at the regionals as Beth Bauer won the East Regional in 1999 after shooting 74-70-71=215, Virada Nirapathpongporn won in 2001 with a 65-73-71=209, Leigh Anne Hardin won in 2002 with rounds of 71-67-72=210, Anna Grzebien won in 2005 with rounds of 73-69-67=209 and Leona Maguire won in 2015 with rounds of 72-78-72=212.
NCAA REGIONAL EXPERIENCE
Virginia Elena Carta has placed tied for 17th as a junior, tied for 18th as a sophomore and tied for seventh as a rookie in the NCAA Regionals, while Ana Belac carded a tied for fourth finish as a freshman in Albuquerque, New Mexico and tied for 11th as a sophomore. Jaravee Boonchant collected a tied for 23rd placement as a freshman in Madison, Wisc.
• Duke led after round one of each of the first four tournaments, but won only two of those - Tar Heel Invitational and Landfall Tradition.
• Duke has yet to finish in any place higher than sixth this season. If the Blue Devils finish the season like this, it will be the seventh time the Duke team finished within the top six in every tournament they played in and the first time since 2013-14
• The Blue Devils trailed by nine shots heading into the final round at the Landfall Tradition, but shot six-under-par over the final six holes to win the tournament over Arkansas.
• Junior Ana Belac led the field through 36 holes and held a three-stroke lead through nine holes of the final round, but was seven-over-par on the back to finish in a tie for eighth at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate.
• Duke turned in a fourth place finish at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate even though Ana Belac and Gina Kim were sick and Virginia Elena Carta came down with a muscle strain in the practice round.
• The 17-under-par ledger at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate tied a Duke 18-hole record of 271. It was tied for the second-lowest round in Tar Heel Invite history.
• Junior Ana Belac owns a team-best six rounds in the 60s this season and a total of 16 over her career, which ranks sixth on Duke’s all-time charts.
• Freshman Miranda Wang will see action in her first NCAA Regional, after missing last season with a knee injury.
• Duke features a 286.00 stroke average in round one, but owns averages of 290.88 in round two and 291.38 in round three.
• The Blue Devils are the only school nationally to feature a winner on both the LPGA and Symetra Tours in 2019. Celine Boutier won the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia, while Leona Maguire Windsor Golf Classic on the Symetra Tour. Yu Liu also finished runner up at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on the LPGA. Maguire now leads the Symetra Tour money list with $36,510 earnings.
KIM QUALIFIES FOR U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN
With rounds of 67 and 75 on April 29, Duke freshman Gina Kim received one of two 2019 U.S. Women’s Open qualifying spots at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. It will mark Kim’s second straight appearance in the U.S. Women’s Open.
A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Kim posted a two-under-par, 142, and finished in a tie for second along with Heather Young, but advanced in a playoff. On the par three 10th, Kim placed her 6-iron from 160 yards to nine feet and sank the birdie putt to earn the final spot in the playoff. Jennifer Kupcho turned in a three-under, 141, to earn the other slot.
Kim’s first round of five-under-par, 67, was the low round of the day. She registered six birdies in the round.
In the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, Kim missed the cut with rounds of 72 and 79 at Shoal Creek in Alabama.
Duke teammates Virginia Elena Carta and Ana Belac missed the cut on Monday. Carta carded rounds of 75 and 70 for a 145, while Belac signed for rounds of 74 and 77 for a 151.
NO. 1 RANKED BLUE DEVILS
The Blue Devils returned to No. 1 in the Golfweek rankings with the March 19 poll. Duke has been ranked No. 1 at least one week a total of 11 times over the last 19 seasons.
Duke returned to No. 1 for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign and have been tops nationally in 2012-13, 2007-08, 2006-07, 2005-06, 2004-05, 2003-04, 2002-03, 2001-02 and 2000-01.
AGAINST THE FIELD
Duke currently features an 19-4 head-to-head ledger against teams in the Auburn Regional -- Vanderbilt (2-0), Florida State (0-3), Auburn (3-0), Virginia (4-0), Furman (3-0), Clemson (3-0), Houston (1-0), Alabama (2-1) and Maryland (1-0).
AUGUSTA NATIONAL WOMEN’S AMATEUR
Duke featured five golfers competing in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship held in Augusta, Ga. With five golfers competing, it was tied for the most from a school along with Arizona State.
Jaravee Boonchant and Erica Shepherd made the cut and became two of the first 30 females to play in a competitive round at Augusta National.
Go in depth with the Blue Devils to see how many birdies, greens, fairways and putts they average during rounds in 2018-19.
CARTA, KIM TIE FOR FIRST AT LANDFALL
Duke senior Virginia Elena Carta and freshman Gina Kim closed the Landfall Tradition in a tie for first, individually, with an even-par, 216. The victory for Carta was her second collegiate win and Kim’s win was the first of her short career.
Carta carded rounds of 72, 72 and 72 for a 216, while Kim signed for rounds of 74, 73 and 69 for a 216.
BLUE DEVILS WIN TAR HEEL & LANDFALL TITLES
After falling behind by nine heading into the final round of the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., the fourth-ranked Duke women’s golf team carded a Sunday-best three-under, 285, to catapult into the lead late in the round. The Blue Devils passed second round leader, Arkansas, and concluded with a two-shot victory at the 6,166-yard, par 72 Country Club of Landfall Dye Course.
Duke senior Virginia Elena Carta and freshman Gina Kim finished the weekend tied for first, individually, with an even-par, 216. The victory for Carta was her second collegiate win and Kim’s win was the first of her short career.
The Blue Devils finished with rounds of 297, 297 and 285 to finish with an 878, which were two shots better than South Carolina (881). Arkansas (892), Virginia (892) and Michigan (896) rounded out the top five teams. It marks the third time over the last four seasons Duke has won the team title (2017, 2015).
Duke made the late charge featuring a six-under-par ledger over the final six holes to complete the comeback. The victory concludes the fall season with the Blue Devils winning each of their final two tournaments.
Tar Heel Intercollegiate
For the fifth time out of the last six years and the 16th time in school history, Duke women’s golf captured the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational title as the Blue Devils carded a 14-under-par, 850, over three days to win by six strokes at the 6,379-yard, par 72 Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Boosted by a 17-under, 271, on day one, the Blue Devils turned in rounds of 290 and 289 over the next two days to finish with the win over sixth-ranked Virginia (856). Ninth-ranked Arkansas (859), South Carolina (866), Wake Forest (868), Vanderbilt (877), Clemson (886), North Carolina (886), Michigan State (887) and Louisville (890) closed out the top 10 teams. The 54-hole ledger of 850 was the tied for third-lowest score in Tar Heel Invitational history.
The Blue Devils featured three golfers in the top eight of the individual leaderboard.
Duke features a very international flare to its 2018-19 roster with one golfer from Slovenia (Ana Belac), Italy (Virginia Elena Carta), Thailand (Jaravee Boonchant) and China (Miranda Wang).
ALL-TIME WINNINGEST COACH
Blue Devil head coach Dan Brooks became the all-time winningest women’s golf coach in NCAA Division I history in the fall of 2005 as he won his 92nd career tournament title at the Stanford Pepsi Intercollegiate Oct. 23, 2005. Brooks passed Mark Gale of San Jose State who won 91 career tournaments from 1978-96.
Brooks now has 135 career tournament wins over his 35 seasons. He has guided Duke to at least one victory in 34 of his 35 years.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR
Duke claimed its 10th NCAA Regional title in school history as the top-seeded Blue Devils won the Madison Regional with an impressive 14-under-par, 850, at the 6,313-yard, par 72 University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wisc.
The Blue Devils carded the second-lowest regional 54-hole ledger in school history with an 850 and won by nine strokes over Virginia (859). Other advancing teams to the NCAA Championship include Southern California (862), Arizona State (863), Ohio State (863) and Northwestern (864).
Duke posted rounds of 283, 279 and 288 over the three days, while dealing with heavy rain and high winds in the final round. The 54-hole score of 850 is ranks just behind the 2007 squad that carded a 20-under, 844, on its way to winning the East Region title. The Blue Devils joined the 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2014 Duke teams winning region championships.
THE HEAD COACH
Dan Brooks is in his 35th season as the head coach of the Blue Devils. The 1981 graduate of Oregon State has led Duke to 20 ACC Championships over the years. Brooks owns the school’s six National Championships in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014.
Brooks’ teams have finished with a top-20 ranking 32 times (looking for the 32nd this season), while 21 of his squads have earned a top-10 finish in a NCAA Tournament-- 1987 (T7th), 1988 (5th), 1994 (4th), 1996 (7th), 1998 (4th), 1999 (1st), 2001 (2nd), 2002 (1st), 2003 (10th), 2004 (3rd), 2005 (1st), 2006 (1st), 2007 (1st), 2008 (3rd), 2009 (6th), 2010 (T8th), 2013 (2nd), 2014 (1st), 2015 (semis), 2016 (semis) and 2018 (6th).
In 35 years, his teams have won 135 tournaments, which is a NCAA record for women’s golf. He was named the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014 ACC Coach of the Year for his efforts and 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2014 National Coach of the Year.
BLUE DEVILS ADD FURTNEY, SHEPHERD FOR 2019-20
Duke women’s golf head coach Dan Brooks has announced the signing of two standout golfers in the early signing period as Greenwood, Ind., product Erica Shepherd and St. Charles, Ill., native Megan Furtney will join the Blue Devils for the 2019-20 campaign.
The duo has combined to win six tournaments, finish in the top 10 of 33 AJGA tournaments the last five years and earn six Rolex Junior All-American accolades over their amateur career.
Shepherd, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the Golfweek rankings, No. 4 in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and No. 2 in the Junior Golf Scoreboard in the class of 2019 listing, owns an impressive resume including three victories along with being named a Rolex Junior All-American on four occasions, including two first team accolades.
In 2017, Shepherd earned the victory at the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, while also winning the 2016 AJGA Junior All-Star at the Virtues and the 2016 AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational. She owns 17 top 10 finishes and 14 top five placements on the AJGA over the last four years. Shepherd was also runner-up at the 2017 Rolex Girls Junior Championship, 2018 AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic and the 2018 The Ping Invitational.
Shepherd has competed in 10 USGA Championships including the U.S. Women’s Open (2018, 2016). She has been on the national stage numerous times as she played on the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup, 2017 & 2018 Wyndham Cup, 2017 World Junior Girls Championship and 2017 Ping Junior Solheim Cup.
In 2018 alone, Shepherd has tallied four top 10 finishes, including five rounds in the 60’s. Shepherd’s best tournament score of 2018 came at the Girls Junior PGA Championship with a four-day ledger of 273, including a first round score of 65.
She qualified for the semifinals of the 2018 Women’s Four Ball Championship alongside future Duke teammate, Furtney, and advanced to the semifinals. Shepherd has also competed on the LPGA twice at the 2018 and 2017 LPGA IWIT Championship where she made the 36-hole cut both occasions.
She is a three-time Center Grove High School Academic Achievement Award winner and a member of the 2017 AJGA Transamerica Scholastic Honor Roll. Shepherd was also the 2015 and 2016 Indiana Girl’s State Junior Champion.
Another three-time medalist on the AJGA, Furtney collected six top 11 placements on the AJGA in 2018, including eight rounds in the 60s. She owns victories at the 2018 Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship, 2018 Lockton Kansas City Junior and the 2016 AJGA Junior at The Legends.
Over the last five years, Furtney has registered 15 top 10 finishes on the AJGA and 22 top 20 placements. Her two victories in 2018 came in back-to-back tournaments as she turned in four rounds in the 60s.
Furtney is currently ranked No. 14 in the latest AJGA and No. 20 in the Golfweek class of 2019 rankings. Since missing the 2017 summer season due to injury, she has collected 22 rounds of even or under par and 18 under par. The two-time Honorable Mention Rolex Junior All-American competed in the 2018 Women’s Four Ball Championship alongside future Duke teammate, Shepherd, and advanced to the semifinals. Furtney qualified for both the USGA Girls’ Junior and the PGA Girls Junior Championship at the age of 14.
She was an All-Conference, All-State, MVP and Kane County Player of the Year in each of her four high-school seasons with St. Charles North High School. As a senior, Furtney boasted an 18-hole average of 67.7. She is a three-time Academic All-Conference honoree, maintaining a 5.3/5.0 GPA and earning AP Scholar distinctions. Furtney closed her high school career by winning her fourth consecutive conference championship with a five-under, 67, and helped her squad to the 2018 Illinois State Championship.
SIX-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
The Duke women’s golf team are six-time NCAA Champions. The Blue Devils won their first title in 1999, a second in 2002, third in 2005, fourth in 2006, fifth in 2007 and sixth in 2014. Duke became only the second team along with Arizona State to win three straight national titles (1995-97).
Virada Nirapathpongporn (2002), Candy Hannemann (2003), Anna Grzebien (2005) and Virginia Elena Carta (2016) each have won individual titles. The Blue Devils became only the third squad in NCAA history to post the individual champion in two straight years in 2001 and 2002.