GREENSBORO, N.C. – The third-ranked Duke women’s golf team carded a first round 293 and holds a seven-stroke lead heading into the second round at the 2013 ACC Championship, which is being played at the 6,210-yard, Par 71 Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
The championship featured strong winds during the entire competition on Friday as the teams teed off early to beat the inclement weather expecting to arrive in the early afternoon. As a team, Duke turned in six birdies and leads by seven strokes over Virginia (300). Rounding out the field is N.C. State (301), Florida State (306), North Carolina (308), Wake Forest (310), Boston College (311), Maryland (311) and Miami (314).
“The wind was gusting. It was literally going to a dead stop once in a while and right now it is blowing 20 miles an hour,” commented Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “It was very hard to pull the right club. To a player, I heard comments about how my mistakes were due to pulling the wrong club.”
Duke, who is the defending ACC Champions and owns 17 overall ACC titles, features four golfers in the top six of the individual leaderboard led by junior Alejandra Cangrejo with a one-over-par, 72. A product of Bogota, Columbia, Cangrejo is tied for second overall and only one shot off individual leader Brittany Altomare of Virginia (71).
“It is great to have the lead,” said Brooks. “The bigger the lead the better. We are happy with it. Tomorrow should be a little less wind and be a little bit more of a low scoring type of day.”
Cangrejo opened her day with eight straight pars before missing the green on the 365-yard, uphill par four ninth and suffered a bogey. She netted her only birdie of the day on the par five 15th to move back to even par but suffered a three-putt bogey on No. 16 on her way to finishing with a 72. Cangrejo hit 13 greens, eight fairways and posted 32 putts on the day.
“Aleja was fantastic,” said Brooks. “She was really smart today, played the wind well and struck it well.”
Defending ACC Champion Lindy Duncan turned in a two-over-par, 73, and is fifth overall with 36 holes remaining. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Duncan turned in bogeys on No. 1, No. 7 and No. 16 before closing her day with a birdie on the final hole - 492-yard, par five 18th. She hit her approach shot just short of the green and placed an excellent chip to within a few inches of the cup for a tap-in birdie. Duncan hit 13 fairways, 13 greens and had 33 putts on the day.
Both freshman Celine Boutier and junior Laetitia Beck each carded rounds of 74 and are tied for sixth overall. Beck had a slow start to the day with bogeys on No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6, but regrouped on No. 8 as she rolled in a 30-foot putt for birdie to move back to two-over-par. She was unlucky on the ninth hole as her approach shot went over the green and out of bounds as she concluded with a double-bogey.
On the back nine, Beck suffered a bogey on the 10th hole, but closed with a two-under-par score over her final eight holes that included birdies on No. 12 and No. 15. Beck, who is out of Caesarea, Israel, rolled in an 18-foot birdie on the 12th hole and made a tremendous up-and-down on No. 15 to collect birdies. She hit 10 greens, 10 fairways and had a team-best 29 putts on the day.
Senior Courtney Ellenbogen struggled on Friday and finished with an 82 and is tied for 37th overall. Ellenbogen, who is from Blacksburg, Va., hit 11 fairways, nine greens and had 37 putts on the day.
Sedgfield Country Club switched to Bermuda grass on the greens prior to the 2013 championship, which has made the tournament even more challenging.
“I think they handled the greens pretty well,” commented Brooks. “We had a good practice round on Thursday. They are not superfast, a good speed but not too fast. We played this course on very firm greens last year that were actually very, very fast. We are used to the firmness from last year so I think we are handling it ok.”
Duke will tee off on Saturday in the second round along with Virginia and N.C. State beginning at 10:10 a.m., off hole No. 1.