HISTORY DENIED (9:50 p.m. EST) — Duke had to go low on the last day of the NCAA Championship to win. That’s exactly what the Blue Devils did, shooting a round-best 7-under, but it wasn’t enough to capture an unprecedented fourth consecutive title. Amanda Blumenherst finished 4-under, carding three birdies and an eagle in her last nine holes, to move into a tie for fifth overall. After starting 4-under through three holes, Jennie Lee finished 3-under, highlighted by her early hole-in-one. The Blue Devils will finish third at 28-over, 12 strokes behind USC. We’ll have more later tonight.
NOT IN THE CARDS? (7:54 p.m. EST) — Duke’s still 22 shots behind USC on the back nine. It’s the Blue Devils’ best day on the links, but subpar rounds on the first three days and weather stoppages look like they’re going to prevent Duke from an unprecedented fourth national title. More updates later.
PLAY RESUMES (5:37 p.m. EST) — Just got a call from Sabreena Merchant that play has just resumed at the University of New Mexico Golf Course. We’ll see if Duke can maintain its torrid pace.
NOT SO FAST: LEE, BLUE DEVILS BEGIN ASSAULT — Just when top-seeded Duke seemed out of the mix to capture its fourth-straight national championship, Jennie Lee and the Blue Devils are starting to make their run. Lee, a junior, came out and birdied her first two holes (Nos. 10 and 11) before acing the 12th to start 4-under. Thanks to Lee’s scorching start and a birdie from freshman Kim Donovan, Duke is 5-under on the day, which is best on the course. The defending champs have moved to third place at 30-over, 15 strokes behind USC and nine strokes behind UCLA.
Lightning in Albuquerque, N.M. has stopped play for the third straight day, and our beat reporter, Sabreena Merchant, is stuck on a bus with the rest of reporters on the middle of the course. Once play resumes, we’ll keep you updated and see if the Blue Devils can maintain their hot play and find a way to put the pressure on the leaders.
–by Ben Cohen