ORLANDO, FLA. – For the second straight week, Duke sophomore Amanda Blumenherst led wire-to-wire on the way to winning her fifth career medalist honor on Tuesday at the University of Central Florida (UCF) Challenge, which was being played at the Par 72, 6,214-yard layout at the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla. Blumenherst carded a career-best 54-hole total of 205 to pace the third-ranked Blue Devils to the team title with a three-day total of 860.
Blumenherst, who is a product of Scottsdale, Ariz., now ranks tied for fifth on Duke’s all-time victories list with five wins in only two years of action. For the tournament, she carded 17 birdies, while suffering only four bogeys and one double-bogey. Blumenherst registered rounds of 70, 65 and 70 to claim the tournament title by 12 strokes over Jacqui Concolino of Vanderbilt (217).
“It was great to get the win,” said Blumenherst. “When we came to Florida, I had come off a win in Arizona. I was feeling very confident in my game. I am starting to putt so much better than even last year. Being able to have good ball-striking and having good putting together made for a great week.”
The 54-hole total of 205 is three strokes off the Duke school record of 202 held by 2006 graduate Liz Janangelo. Over her last six rounds, Blumenherst each have been even or under par and overall she has notched seven consecutive scores of even or under par.
“Amanda is really fun to watch,” said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. “She has all the physical parts, has a great attitude, plays with a lot of energy and great passion.”
In the team play at the UCF Challenge, the Blue Devils posted a 26-stroke victory over the current No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Duke carded a season best four-under-par, 860, with a final round with a final round one-under-par, 287. Georgia (886), Pepperdine (898), Vanderbilt (898), Florida (907), Purdue (920), Louisiana State (921), New Mexico (922), Alabama (922) and Arkansas (928) rounded out the top 10.
“We played well and the other teams, in particular the first day, are better than their performance this week,” said Brooks. “I am very excited about what our team did in this tournament. We are going to stay ready, work hard and get prepared for the next competition.”
The tournament title for the Blue Devils is the third of the season and the 72nd over the last nine years.
Sophomore Jennie Lee closed the tournament in fourth place with a 54-hole total of 219 with rounds of 73, 72 and 74. On Tuesday, Lee had a solid morning as she made the turn at one-under-par, 35, as she notched a birdie on the par-three, 157-yard par three. She closed seven pars, a bogey on No. 14 and a double-bogey to close out the round on the 18th.
After struggling with rounds of 78 and 79 the first two day, senior Anna Grzebien regained her top form on the final day of action as she shot a two-under-par, 70. She finished tied for 24th with a total of 227. A native of Narragansett, R.I., Grzebien began the morning with a bogey on her first hole, which was No. 4, but came back to birdie the next two holes. She closed the day with a total of four birdies, two bogeys and 12 pars.
Junior Jennifer Pandolfi collected her second straight round of 73 on Tuesday to finish tied for seventh with a 221. The Navarre, Fla., standout notched four birdies over each of her final two rounds and had the best finish of the season. Alison Whitaker, a freshman from Melbourne, Australia, also registered a season best finish at the UCF Challenge as she posted a three-day total of 220 to finish tied for fifth. She had rounds of 71, 74 and 75 over the 54 holes.
Playing as an individual for the second straight week, freshman Rebecca Kim had the best finish of her career with a tied for 36th ledger. The Tigard, Ore., product fired rounds of 77, 79 and 77 for a 233. Her rounds of 77 in the first and third rounds were career bests.
Duke will next compete in the LSU/Cleveland Classic Invitational from March 16-18 in Baton Rouge, La.
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