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Whitaker, Duke Take Home Titles At UCF Challenge On Tuesday
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/11/2008
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Alison Whitaker won her first career tournament at the UCF Challenge
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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SORRENTO, FLA. – For the first time in her short career at Duke, sophomore Alison Whitaker has claimed individual medalist honors as she led wire-to-wire at the UCF Challenge with a career-best three-day total of 208 at the 6,301-Yard, Par 72 RedTail Golf Club. As a team, top-ranked Duke cruised to the team title with a 54-hole ledger of 13-under-par, 851. 

“It feels good,” said Whitaker on her first win.  “It was a long time coming and took longer than I thought it would to be honest with you.  But with someone like Blue [Amanda Blumenherst] on the team it is always going to be hard to win.  It is really cool and it was a strong field as well so it wasn’t like I picked an easy one to go off on.”

Duke closed the final day with a one-under-par, 287, after posting six-under-par, 282, scores over the first two days.  The Blue Devils dominated the action over the last two days over a very impressive field that included 13 top-25 teams and six top-10 squads.  Rounding out the top 10 was Purdue (860), UCLA (863), Florida (865), Southern California (868), Georgia (872), Alabama (872), Auburn (876), Louisiana State (878) and Pepperdine (880). 

“I am excited about this win even though we were forced to contend with treacherous winds,” Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks said. “We handled the conditions today very well and our golfers did a good job of knowing how far they could drive the ball. We have the ability to drive the ball well I am pleased with the way we performed.”

The victory for Duke was the fourth of the season and third in stroke play, while the three-day total of 851 was nine shots better than the Blue Devils have shot this season. 

Whitaker, who is from Melbourne, Australia, finished off a very impressive tournament with an even par, 72, on Tuesday.  Her tournament total of 208 was seven strokes better than her previous high of 215 and she collected her first career win after six top 20 finishes over her first two years.

“My ball-striking was the best it has ever been,” said Whitaker.  “I cannot remember ever hitting it so close so many times.  On the first day when I shot seven-under, I was hitting it close and holing just about every putt I looked at as well, which was great.  I had bids out on my putter after my round, apparently, and some were getting pretty high so I thought about selling it [laughing].  But I didn’t [laughing].  

On the final day, Whitaker made the turn at one-under-par, 35, with birdies at the second and ninth holes, before opening the back nine with par, bogey, par and bogey.  She rebounded with a par and then back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.  Whitaker closed the day with a par and a bogey on No. 18.  Her three straight even or under par rounds of 65, 71 and 72 marked the first time at Duke she has posted three consecutive rounds of even or under par. 

“Alison really started out not putting that well,” said Brooks.  “She has been working at it and has been trying to get the feel.  I think she had some really good tempo thoughts for this tournament and   had her head together it seemed like.  She was hitting the ball well and got her putting going.”

Chasing Whitaker over the three days were two-time National Player of the Year Amanda Blumenherst, who entered the day one stroke off the lead.  A product of Scottsdale, Ariz., Blumenherst notched a final round of 74 to finish tied for third with a 211.  She made one birdie to go along with eight pars on the front nine and then closed with six pars, a birdie on No. 13 and back-to-back bogeys on No. 17 and No. 18.

During the tournament, Blumenherst totaled her 57th career round of even or under par to break the preview school record of 55 held by Liz Janangelo, who played from 2003-06 with the Blue Devils.  Her top-

Continuing the tournament of records, senior Jennifer Pandolfi registered her 18-hole career-best total of five-under-par, 67, on Tuesday to lead the Blue Devils.  Pandolfi, who is from Navarre, Fla., came out on fire posting four birdies over her first nine holes to make the turn with a 32.  On the back, she collected birdies on No. 12, No. 15 and No. 17, while posting five pars and one double-bogey on No. 14.  With a total of 216, Pandolfi finished tied for 14th, which marked her second top 20 finish of the season and 20th of her career.

With her fifth straight top 20 finish of the 2007-08 season, junior Jennie Lee totaled a 74 on Tuesday to close at tied for 23rd with a 217.  Lee, who is a product of Henderson, Nev., opened the day with five consecutive pars before having a bogey on hole No. 6.  She then rang off birdies on No. 7 and No. 9, while sandwiching a par on the eighth hole to make the turn with a one-under-par, 35.  Lee began the back nine with three bogeys and four pars, while finishing with a birdie on No. 17 and bogey on No. 18 to turn in a two-over-par, 74. 

Freshman Kim Donovan closed the tournament with her third consecutive two-over-par, 74, on Tuesday to finish tied for 41st with a 222.  In the round, Donovan came out and made the turn with a four-over-par, 40, but settled down to play the first seven holes of the back nine at three-under-par.  A product of Hopkinton, Mass., Donovan registered birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th holes before closing with a bogey on No. 18 to total a two-under-par, 34, on the back nine.

Playing as an individual, sophomore Yu Young Lee notched her second straight round of 76 on the final day to finish tied for 89th with a 237.

During the tournament, Whitaker collected a career-low round of 65 and Pandolfi posted a career-best 18-hole total of 67. 

“Definitely, it is hard not to feel it,” said Whitaker on feeling pressure in the final to close with a win.  “I tried to stay patient as I hit the ball unbelievably well on the front nine.  I think I hit it inside 15-feet  at least five times, but made only one or two of the putts.  It was pretty frustrating golf out there for the first three hours.  I gave myself a bit of a talking to and made sure I stayed patient and believed in my ability to read putts.  When I came in I basically thought that someone else had won when I finished, until my whole team congratulated me.  I figured since I was missing so many putts I thought scoring was easier than it actually was today.  Luckily for me none of the girls that were chasing me down were able to go low.”

Duke will next play in the Liz Murphey Collegiate from March 21-23 in Athens, Ga.

Duke Results
1 Alison Whitaker Duke 65 71 72 208 -8
T3 Amanda Blumenherst Duke 69 68 74 211 -5
T14 Jennifer Pandolfi Duke 75 74 67 216 E
T23 Jennie Lee Duke 74 69 75 218 +2
T41 Kimberly Donovan Duke 74 74 74 222 +6
 89 Yu Young Lee * Duke 85 76 76 237 +21
* Individual

- d - u - k - e -

 rank team scores
1 Duke 282 282 287 851 -13
2 Purdue 289 283 288 860 -4
3 UCLA 286 291 286 863 -1
4 Florida 292 283 290 865 +1
5 Southern California 281 294 293 868 +4
T6 Georgia 289 291 292 872 +8
T6 Alabama, U. of 294 287 291 872 +8
8 Auburn 292 291 293 876 +12
9 Louisiana State 290 294 294 878 +14
10 Pepperdine 285 295 300 880 +16
11 Oklahoma State 286 296 299 881 +17
12 Arkansas, U. of 294 298 292 884 +20
13 Florida State Univ. 304 294 290 888 +24
T14 Tennessee 293 298 303 894 +30
T14 UCF 292 299 303 894 +30
16 Vanderbilt 302 297 296 895 +31
17 New Mexico 295 310 297 902 +38
18 Furman University 307 299 307 913 +49

Start Finish Player Team Scores
1 1 Alison Whitaker Duke 65 71 72 208 -8
T3 2 Junthima Gulyanamitta Purdue 72 66 72 210 -6
T3 T3 Garrett Phillips Georgia 69 69 73 211 -5
2 T3 Amanda Blumenherst Duke 69 68 74 211 -5
T7 T5 Rhea Nair Alabama, U. of 71 69 72 212 -4
T3 T5 Pernilla Lindberg Oklahoma State 67 71 74 212 -4
T9 T7 Taylore Karle Pepperdine 70 71 72 213 -3
T13 T7 Maria Jose Uribe UCLA 72 71 70 213 -3
T36 T7 Caroline Westrup Florida State Univ. 75 72 66 213 -3
T7 T10 Cydney Clanton Auburn 66 74 74 214 -2
6 T10 Tiffany Joh UCLA 70 69 75 214 -2
T36 T12 Megan McChrystal Louisiana State 76 71 68 215 -1
T16 T12 Maria Hernandez Purdue 71 73 71 215 -1
T9 T14 Belen Mozo Southern California 69 72 75 216 E
T53 T14 Jennifer Pandolfi Duke 75 74 67 216 E
T21 T14 Hannah Yun Florida 73 72 71 216 E
T11 T14 Jessica Yadloczky Florida 72 70 74 216 E
T21 T18 Kathleen Ekey Alabama, U. of 73 72 72 217 +1
T28 T18 Paola Moreno Southern California 70 76 71 217 +1
T36 T18 Sydnee Michaels UCLA 72 75 70 217 +1
T28 T18 Christel Boeljon Purdue 74 72 71 217 +1
T13 T18 Tiffany Chudy Florida 75 68 74 217 +1
T16 T23 Caroline Martens Louisiana State 70 74 74 218 +2
T28 T23 Stacy Lewis Arkansas, U. of 70 76 72 218 +2
T13 T23 Jennie Lee Duke 74 69 75 218 +2
T16 T23 Maude-Aimee Leblanc Purdue 72 72 74 218 +2
T42 T27 Abigale Schepperle Auburn 76 72 71 219 +3
T42 T27 Lizette Salas Southern California 73 75 71 219 +3
T21 T27 Kelli Shean Arkansas, U. of 71 74 74 219 +3
T28 T27 Liebelei Lawrence Vanderbilt 72 74 73 219 +3
T21 T31 Mallory Hetzel Georgia 71 74 75 220 +4
T28 T31 Stephanie Connelly UCF 74 72 74 220 +4
T21 T31 Whitney Myers Florida 72 73 75 220 +4
T21 T31 Blair Lamb Furman University 72 73 75 220 +4
T16 T31 Megan Grehan Vanderbilt 76 68 76 220 +4
T42 T36 Leanne Bowditch Pepperdine 73 75 73 221 +5
T60 T36 Glory Yang UCLA 74 76 71 221 +5
T42 T36 Lucy Nunn Arkansas, U. of 76 72 73 221 +5
T42 T36 Mayule Tomimbang UCF 73 75 73 221 +5
T16 T36 Dewi Claire Schreefel Southern California 73 71 77 221 +5
T60 T41 Carolina Andrade Georgia 75 75 72 222 +6
T36 T41 Krystle Caithness Georgia 74 73 75 222 +6
T53 T41 Whitney Wright Florida State Univ. 75 74 73 222 +6
T28 T41 Stefanie Endstrasser Southern California 69 77 76 222 +6
T42 T41 Kimberly Donovan Duke 74 74 74 222 +6
T60 T41 Brooke Goodwin Vanderbilt 73 77 72 222 +6
T69 T47 Nicole Smith Tennessee 75 76 72 223 +7
T36 T47 Amalie Valle Louisiana State 71 76 76 223 +7
T28 T47 Candace Schepperle Auburn 74 72 77 223 +7
T11 T47 Marci Turner Tennessee 70 72 81 223 +7
T60 T47 Jodi Ewart New Mexico 73 77 73 223 +7
T60 T52 Courtney Harter * Alabama, U. of 79 71 74 224 +8
T69 T52 Margaret Shirley Auburn 76 75 73 224 +8
T53 T52 Mariana Macias Auburn 76 73 75 224 +8
T60 T52 Karin Kinnerud Oklahoma State 74 76 74 224 +8
T53 T52 Tammy Clelland Oklahoma State 72 77 75 224 +8
T60 T52 Diana Cantu Tennessee 74 76 74 224 +8
T53 T52 Camilla Lennarth Alabama, U. of 73 76 75 224 +8
T28 T52 Jaclyn Sweeney Oklahoma State 73 73 78 224 +8
T42 T52 Whitney Brummett Florida State Univ. 74 74 76 224 +8
T42 T52 Alexandra Phelps New Mexico 71 77 76 224 +8
T53 62 Rebecca Kuhn Louisiana State 76 73 76 225 +9
T53 T63 Stephanie Gelleni Pepperdine 75 74 77 226 +10
T42 T63 Jayvie Agojo Pepperdine 73 75 78 226 +10
T42 T63 Angela Oh Tennessee 74 74 78 226 +10
T74 T63 Kristin Ingram Arkansas, U. of 77 76 73 226 +10
T60 T67 Alexis Rather Louisiana State 73 77 77 227 +11
T60 T67 Ryann O'Toole UCLA 72 78 77 227 +11
T72 T69 Amanda Johnson Oklahoma State 76 76 76 228 +12
T72 T69 Sarah Sturm Alabama, U. of 77 75 76 228 +12
T69 T69 Morgan Grantham New Mexico 73 78 77 228 +12
T80 T72 Laura Goodwin Alabama, U. of 86 71 72 229 +13
T42 T72 Martine de Gannes Pepperdine 69 79 81 229 +13
T74 T72 Jessy Tang UCF 73 80 76 229 +13
T21 T72 Leigh Crosby UCF 72 73 84 229 +13
T80 T72 Mikaela Backstedt New Mexico 79 78 72 229 +13
T36 T72 Stefanie Kenoyer Furman University 76 71 82 229 +13
76 78 Macarena Silva Florida State Univ. 80 74 76 230 +14
T89 79 Ornella Jouven Florida 87 73 71 231 +15
T77 T80 Whitney Sylvan Arkansas, U. of 78 78 76 232 +16
T89 T80 Innapha Tantanavivat Georgia 85 75 72 232 +16
T80 T80 Lauren Cousart Florida State Univ. 80 77 75 232 +16
T77 T80 Britney Choy New Mexico 78 78 76 232 +16
T80 T80 Ashley Baker Furman University 79 78 75 232 +16
T86 85 Jaclyn Hilea Furman University 80 79 75 234 +18
T77 T86 Ginny Brown Tennessee 78 78 79 235 +19
T86 T86 Julie Bartholomew Vanderbilt 81 78 76 235 +19
T80 88 Eleanor Tucker * Florida 79 78 79 236 +20
91 89 Yu Young Lee * Duke 85 76 76 237 +21
85 90 Victoria Tomko UCF 79 79 80 238 +22
T92 T91 Rebecca Watson * Tennessee 81 81 80 242 +26
T86 T91 Corrine Carr Furman University 82 77 83 242 +26
T92 93 Camie Mess Purdue 79 83 84 246 +30
T94 94 Sara Hurwitch * UCF 82 83 85 250 +34
T94 95 Katie Detlefsen * UCF 81 84 87 252 +36
96 - Jacqui Concolino Vanderbilt A 78 75 - -

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