CHARLESTON, S.C. - After carding over-par rounds the first two days of the Cougar Classic, the preseason seventh-ranked Duke women's golf team showcased its skills on Tuesday firing one of the lowest rounds of the day at six-under-par, to close the tournament in a tie for seventh at the 6,541 yard, Par 71 Yeamans Hall Club in Charleston, S.C.
The Blue Devils counted two under-par rounds by junior Lindy Duncan (68) and freshman Irene Jung (69), while also registering an even-par (72) and one-over-par (73) ledgers by sophomore Laetitia Beck and Stacey Kim, respectively.
As a team, Duke finished with 18-hole totals of 292, 293 and 282 for a total of 867. Taking the team title was LSU with a 16-under-par, 848, while North Carolina (853), Florida (856), N.C. State (864), Georgia (864), Vanderbilt (865), Duke (867), Tennessee (867), Alabama (867) and South Carolina rounding out the top 10.
"It was so good to go under par and was a lot of fun," said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. "In general, we learned a little more about this golf course each day. Most of these holes give you a smart way to play it and a very severe way to play it. It took us a little while to learn that. Part of the reason we went under the last day is we just got smarter."
Both Duncan and Beck finished in the top 10 individually for the tournament as Duncan was tied for sixth and Beck was tied ninth.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Duncan got better each day as she collected rounds of 74, 69 and 68 for a career-best tying total of 211. She opened her day on hole No. 8 with a birdie and then moved to three-under with her first eagle of the 2011-12 season as she hit a 5-wood to within 12 feet, before rolling in a putt on the 444-yard, par five 15th hole. Duncan added other birdies on the 17th and third holes to go to five-under-par with four holes remaining. A late bogey on the 146-yard, par three sixth dropped her to a 68 for the day. Duncan had 30 putts to go along with 13 fairways and 15 greens-in-regulation.
Playing in her first collegiate tournament, Jung notched a career-best bogey-free three-under-par, 69, on Tuesday on her way to finishing tied for 52nd with a 223. Jung, who is out of Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada, opened her day on No. 10 and rolled in birdies on three par fives -- No. 15, No. 18 and No. 4. She hit within 10 feet on every par five in her final round, while notching 30 putts, 14 fairways and 15 greens-in-regulation.
"I am as proud of Irene as can be," said Brooks. "She has brought some wonderful things to the team. Not only a real solid game, but she was low for our qualifier. Then finishing up her first tournament at three-under in the last day is tremendous. Above and beyond that, she has brought a real fresh excitement to the team. It is simple -- love the game, love your team, practice hard and play hard. That is what she brings. It is fantastic."
After opening the tournament with a five-under-par, 68, Beck closed with rounds of 74 and 72 to finish tied for ninth with a 213. Her top 10 placement marks her fourth career top 10 finish of her short career. A product of Caesarea, Israel, Beck posted three birdies, three bogeys and 12 pars on the day, including a birdie on her first hole, No. 7. She hit 13 greens, nine fairways and had 31 putts on the day.
Kim, who has turned in rounds of 76 and 77 the first two rounds, held a two-under-par ledger with three holes remaining but suffered a bogey on No. 6 and a double-bogey on the seventh hole to drop back to a one-over-par, 73, to close out the tournament. A native of Columbus, Ga., Kim netted birdies on No. 15, No. 2 and No. 3 on the day. She just missed a hole-in-one on the 136-yard, par three third hole as she hit her 7-iron to within one foot. Kim had 27 putts, 10 greens and 11 fairways on the day.
Sophomore Alejandra Cangrejo finished the day with a 78, after carding rounds of 75 and 73 the first two rounds. Cangrejo, who is out of Bogota, Colombia, had 27 putts, 10 fairways hit and six greens-in-regulation on Tuesday. Both Kim and Cangrejo placed tied for 63rd with a 226.
Playing as an individual, junior Courtney Ellenbogen finished tied for 92nd with rounds of 81, 77 and 77 for a total of 235. She hit only six greens in the final round, while making 26 putts and hitting 11 fairways.
As a team, Duke rolled in 13 birdies in the final round.
The Blue Devils will next compete in the NCAA Fall Preview from Sept. 23-25, which will be hosted by Vanderbilt University at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.
"We are a team that is capable of going under par and it is nice to have that reminder," said Brooks. "You need to go under par these days -- the scores are low."