Date: May 22, 2009

Duke rise despite Whitaker slip

courtesy: Duke Women&aposs Golf For the third consecutive day, the Duke women&aposs golf team made its way up the leaderboard as the Blue Devils carded a 14-over-par, 302, on Thursday to move into eighth place at the NCAA Championship with 18 holes remaining at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland. “It was a really great three-quarters of the day — maybe even a little more than that,” said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. “Just the end got it. I joked with the team, I said you really know how to get the coaches to feel your pain. It is a setup for all of us — it hurts when it happens.” “What I mentioned to the team is our job is to stay up — that is your job in this game — you absolutely have to stay up and keep believing in possibilities. As soon as you stop doing that, you are not playing golf anymore and you have no chance. We are going to do our job; keep fighting. They give four trophies away — we are going to try to get some hardware.” Duke entered the second round in 14th place and were in 12th following Wednesday&aposs 18 holes of action. But for the third straight day, Duke had trouble closing as the Blue Devils gave back 11 strokes over the final five holes to finish with a 302, which is eighth. For the three days of play, Duke owns a total of 911 and is only five strokes out of fourth place. “You can look at it like gosh we cannot finish,” said Brooks. “But you have to remember, golf courses like this are built with the finishing holes hardest. Even though this is the front side, these are tough holes.” “It is a complicated mentality — you have to have a mentality that doesn&apost just assume you are going to have trouble there. At the same time when you have a little trouble there you cannot beat yourself up to bad.” “You have to walk that fine line because you can birdies these holes. You can birdie the last two holes — they all have the capability of doing that. You have to keep that possibility open and not beat yourself up too bad if you don&apost do great on them.” For the second straight day, the Blue Devils opened play on No. 10 and Duke registered a solid start as it was only four-over-par through the first nine holes. A product of Melbourne, Australia, junior Alison Whitaker had one of her best rounds of the week until she hit her 14th hole of the day, which was No. 5. A two-time All-ACC selection, Whitaker was one-over-par through those 13 holes as she notched seven pars and two bogeys on the first nine and then had her lone birdie of the day on the 492-yard, par five third hole as she drained a birdie putt. Whitaker then struggled during holes five through eight as she went bogey, double-bogey, bogey and bogey before closing with a par on No. 9. She finished with a six-over-par, 78, and is now tied for 41st with a 229. For the day, Whitaker hit only eight fairways, 13 greens and had 36 putts. Duke Results: T8 20 Amanda Blumenherst (10) Duke +6 F +2 75 73 74 222 T34 12 Jennie Lee (10) Duke +12 F +3 78 75 75 228 T41 Alison Whitaker (10) Duke +13 F +6 76 75 78 229 T57 Kimberly Donovan (10) Duke +16 F +3 79 78 75 232 116 Yu Young Lee (10) Duke +30 F +10 83 81 82 246 If Duke can move into the top five by the end of the day on Friday, the Blue Devils will finish in the top five of the NCAA Championship for the sixth straight year. It would also be the eighth time out of the last nine years the Blue Devils would have finished in the top five. Dan Brooks has led Duke to 11 top five finishes in the NCAA Championship over his 24 years. * The NCAA Championship is a four-day event that totals 72 holes with 18 holes played each day.