OPELIKA, Ala. – For the 31st time in school history, the Duke women’s golf team will participate in the NCAA Championship as the top-seeded Blue Devils carded a 54-hole ledger of 868 to finish third overall in the Auburn Regional, which was played at the 6,371-yard, par 72 Saugahatchee Country Club in Opelika, Ala.
Vanderbilt claimed the team title with a four-under, 860, while the five other teams advancing to the NCAA Championship include Florida State (863), Duke (868), Virginia (873), Auburn (874) and Tennessee (876). The NCAA Championship will take place May 17-22 in Fayetteville, Ark.
After slipping down the leaderboard midway through the round, the Blue Devils collected seven birdies over the final five holes to finish in third place.
Boonchant, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, was bogey-free for the first 17 holes, while notching birdies on No. 9, No. 15 and No. 17. Sitting at one-under-par for the day, the two-time All-ACC selection rolled in a 15-footer on the 15th and a nine-footer for birdie on No. 17. Boonchant closed with her lone bogey of the day on No. 18 as she finished with a two-under, 70. She hit 13 greens, seven fairways and had 29 putts on the afternoon. Boonchant notched three straight even or under par rounds over the three days.
A product of Chapel Hill, N.C., Kim featured Duke’s best start to the final round, after hitting her approach on the par five first hole to two feet and sinking the birdie. It marked the first birdie of the 54 holes for the Blue Devils on the par five first hole. Kim parred the next seven holes, before closing the front with another short birdie putt. She hit her 8-iron from 134 yards to two feet to make the turn at two-under-par.
Kim would go on to bogey No. 13 and No. 15, but came back to hit her 50-degree wedge from 103 yards to 15 feet and drilled the birdie. She just missed a birdie on No. 18 on her way to finishing with a one-under, 71. Kim hit 14 greens, 10 fairways and had 31 putts.
Senior Virginia Elena Carta struggled over the first 12 holes Wednesday, but was able to dial it in over the last six holes on her way to finishing with a 75. She placed tied for 41st overall for the week. Carta, who is from Udine, Italy, nearly holed out for eagle on the short par four 14th and eventually notched her first birdie of the day. She also birdied No. 17 with a 10-footer to finish two-under-par over her final six holes. Carta hit 12 greens, 11 fairways and had 34 putts on the day.
After flirting with birdies all week, but couldn’t get as many to drop as she would like, sophomore Miranda Wang signed for a 75 to close the week. She was two-over through seven, but hit the green in two on the par five eighth, before draining a four-foot birdie. Wang, who hails from Beijing, China, added a short birdie on No. 14 as well. She hit 13 greens, eight fairways and had 33 putts Wednesday.
With two top 11 placements in NCAA Regional action to open her career, junior Ana Belac struggled this week placing tied for 41st. She closed the final round with a six-over, 78, to go along with two birdies, both which came on the back nine on No. 10 and No. 16. She hit a season-low seven fairways, nine greens and had 32 putts.
With Duke finishing in the top four of the regional, it marks the seventh straight year Duke has placed in the top four.