Date: February 24, 2010

Whitaker seals second place at Wildcat

Duke University senior and Golf Australia National Squad member Alison Whitaker closed the Wildcat Invitational on Tuesday with a 36-hole total of 141 to finish tied for second place, which marks her second-best finish of her four-year career. The tournament was played at the 6,146-yard, Par 71 Arizona National Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona. Whitaker, from Melbourne, Australia, opened the invitational with a two-under-par, 69 on Monday and then totaled a 72 on Tuesday to close with a one-under-par, 141. The 141 was a season-best for her during 36 holes, while registering a total of seven birdies. Whitaker kicked off her play on Tuesday on fire one again with two birdies over her first three holes and led the tournament. Playing in the rain we had yesterday with the wind and today with the wind today — that is just all about attitude, said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. Whenever you are in those conditions, and you finish at the top it just means you had a great attitude — you were tough and kept your chin up. To come out on top or near the top, you had to be very patient. On her fifth hole, which was actually the 336-yard, par four No. 8, she had a bogey but came back on the 10th with a birdie to move back to two-under-par for the day. Whitaker closed the day with three bogeys over her final 11 holes to finish with a 72. Caroline Hedwall of Oklahoma State took home the individual title after carding a five-under-par, 66, on Tuesday on her way to finishing with a 136. Juliana Murcia of Arizona State (141) tied with Whitaker for second. As a team, Duke shot a 303 on Tuesday and finished the two-day invitational in fifth place with a total of 599. Arizona State (576) won the title by 12 strokes over Arizona (588), while Stanford (595), California (596), Duke (599), New Mexico (601), Pepperdine (602), Auburn (605), Denver (607) and Oklahoma State (608) rounded out the top 10. We had a sunnier day today, but I am not sure if we really had a more score able day, said Brooks. The wind blew hard and there is no rough to stop the ball. Once the ball takes off a little bit laterally in these fairways, it is running in the desert. With the short rough and no wind it is easier; with the short rough and high wind it makes it harder. Freshman Lindy Duncan turned in a tied for 27th place finish on Tuesday led by her second collegiate eagle on the 487-yard, par five fifth hole, which was her final hole of the day. Duncan hit driver and then placed a six-iron from 165 yards away to two inches for eagle. It marks the second straight tournament she has notched an eagle this spring. This is a tough golf course and the conditions were really rough, said Duncan. I didn t have much going on — I didn t hit the ball well and didn t putt very well. In this kind of weather, you have to have at least one part of your game sharp and I felt like I was just a little off all week. Duncan, who is out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., carded rounds of 77 and 74 to finish with a 36-hole total of 151. It marks the first time in her collegiate career she has finished out of the top 20. Fellow freshman Courtney Ellenbogen posted a 79 on Tuesday to close tied for 36th with a 153, while Kim Donovan added a 78 and placed tied for 40th. Freshman Stacey Kim was tied 67th after carding rounds of 77 and 83. I take some positives away from this tournament — there is no question about that, said Brooks. We have had a rough winter so I don t think we are at the best we can play by any stretch. That is why you train and practice otherwise you would be at your best all the time. We haven t had the kind of preparation that we will have by April or May. Duke will have a month off before returning to action at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga., on March 26-28. INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (36 hole event) 1. Caroline Hedwall Oklahoma State 70 66 136( -6) T2. Alison Whitaker Duke 69 72 141( -1) T2. Juliana Murcia Arizona State 74 67 141 (-1) T4. Jodi Ewart New Mexico 72 72 144 (+2) T4. Cydney Clanton Auburn 74 70 144 (+2) T4. Jennifer Johnson Arizona State 73 71 144 (+2) T7. Taylore Karle Pepperdine 68 77 145 (+3) T7. Margarita Ramos Arizona 73 72 145 (+3) T7. Carlota Ciganda Arizona State 71 74 145 (+3) T10. Jaclyn Sweeney Arizona State 72 74 146 (+4) T10. Sally Watson Stanford 71 75 146 (+4)