Date: October 26, 2009

Whitaker leads Duke to win

Golf Australia National Squad member Alison Whitaker led the Duke charge on the final day as she carded a three-under-par, 69, which marked her second straight under-par round to help seal victory for Duke at the NCAA Fall Preview. The Blue Devils stormed back from being down 10 strokes to No. 1 UCLA and won by one over fourth-ranked Auburn and UCLA. Originally from Melbourne, Whitaker finished with a three-day total of 217, which was tied for fifth — her best finish of the season. For the round, she hit 11 fairways, 11 greens and had 26 putts. My putting was a lot better, which really helped momentum wise, said Whitaker. When the putts fall in I think it is a little easier to stay optimistic — it shouldn t be but that is just the way golf rolls. If the putts are falling you have a little more in your corner and in your arsenal to go out there and keep hungry for birdies. I am very proud of this team, said coach Dan Brooks. I am proud of Alison for leading the way and getting under-par the last two days. I am real proud of our freshmen, but what is great is we got contribution from everybody on the team. It just seemed like everyone was solid and handled the situation very well. Whitaker opened her day one-over-par through seven holes, before having an up-and-down next seven holes that included four birdies, two bogeys and one par to move to one-under-par. The two-time All-ACC selection opened her round on hole No. 5 — so she closed with holes one through four and made the most of them registering birdies on No. 2 and No. 4. Over the final five overall holes, Whitaker was three-under-par. Her birdie on the 122-yard, par three second hole came off a 30-foot putt. Any win when you really dig deep and come from behind is a good one, said Whitaker. With us having such a young team and having three freshmen going straight into the lineup, it is great for them to get their first taste of what it feels like winning. Hopefully, that will motivate us in the offseason to work even harder and make the other teams have to work harder to chase us all the time. As a team, Duke registered an even-par, 288, on Sunday to tie for the best round of the morning and went on to finish the weekend with a 54-hole total of 881 with 18-hole ledgers of 296, 297 and 288. The Blue Devils collected a total of 19 birdies and one eagle on Sunday at the 6,325-yard, par 72 Pete Dye Course at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. UCLA (882) finished tied for second with Auburn (882), while Arizona State (889), Virginia (891), Purdue (892), Wake Forest (895), Denver (898), Alabama (903), Michigan State (904) and Georgia (912) closed out the top 10. The field was one of the most challenging Duke has faced all season.