Chasing an unprecedented fourth straight national title, top-ranked Duke sits in 18th place, 15 strokes behind Southern California at the NCAA Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
All five Blue Devils in competition put in lackluster rounds Tuesday, the first of four days to determine the national championship. Two-time defending National Player of the Year and top-seeded golfer Amanda Blumenherst fired a 3-over 75, with two birdies, three bogeys and a double. She trails senior Jennifer Pandolfi (1-over) and junior Jennie Lee (2-over) on Duke. Freshman Kim Donovan shot a 5-over, and junior Alison Whitaker, one of the team’s strongest golfers, needs to recover from a round of 10-over in which she shot eight bogeys, a double and a triple.
Last year, Duke sat in fifth place after the first day of competition in the NCAA Championship before taking first place in day two and holding it the rest of the way. In 2006, the Blue Devils were also tied for fifth after the first day before eventually stealing the lead on the third day.
We’ll keep you updated of Duke’s progress to make it a four-peat tomorrow, and our women’s golf beat reporter will be at the University of New Mexico Golf Course Thursday and Friday to bring you live coverage.
-by Ben Cohen