Two days into the final leg of its quest for an unprecedented fourth national championship, top-seeded Duke finished Wednesday in 12th place, 15 strokes behind co-leaders USC and UCLA at the University of New Mexico Golf Course in Albuquerque, N.M. The Blue Devils were in 18th place after Tuesday, also 15 strokes off the pace.
On Wednesday, though, Duke had to deal with more than simply making golf shots. The weather wreaked havoc all day, causing two suspensions and eventually ending play early. Wind gusts exceeded 60 m.p.h. and the Blue Devils’ round lasted more than eight hours. After the first break due to high winds, Duke went into the clubhouse 16-over. Five holes later, the Blue Devils had finished the day 23-over.
“I know it is kind of the luck of the draw, but yesterday it got windy at the end and we played through it, but it wasn’t nearly like this,” said Amanda Blumenherst, who shot a 1-under to bring her two-day score to 1-over. “Those afternoon groups didn’t have to have a little break in their round and they also now might not even have to finish in this and play in calmer conditions tomorrow, where there isn’t anything you can do about it. It really isn’t fair.”
Blumenherst, in particular, was affected by the high winds. She bogeyed two of her last five holes after the break to drop to 1-over.
The Blue Devils hit the links again tomorrow, with only 36 holes to make up the necessary ground to capture their fourth straight title. We’ll have a reporter in Albuquerque keeping you up-to-date with live reports and analysis, so make sure to follow along!
—by Ben Cohen