Wednesday, November 02, 2016


Blue Devils Advance to East Lake Cup Championship
November 1, 2016
ATLANTA, Ga. – Behind wins by Ana Belac, Virginia Elena Carta and Leona Maguire, the third-seeded Duke women's golf team downed second-seeded UCLA, 3-2, Tuesday to advance to the East Lake Cup Championship for the second straight year at the 6,249-yard, par 72 East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.
Duke will go up against fourth-seeded Washington, after the Huskies upset top-seeded Stanford, 4-1, to advance to the finals.  The match will kick off Wednesday at 12:55 p.m., with live coverage on Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m.
"I am quite proud," commented Duke head coach Dan Brooks on his squad taking down UCLA.  "UCLA is a very talented team.  This was a lot of fun and I loved the pairings.  I thought we came out with exactly the right matchups."
The Blue Devils started slow Tuesday morning as four of the five Duke golfers dropped either the first or second hole to fall behind.  Duke changed that around quickly though and built leads in four of the five matches heading to holes eight and nine. 
Leading the Duke charge out of the gate was Carta, who was facing Lilia Vu of UCLA.  After dropping the first hole with a three-putt bogey, Carta won holes three and four to take a 1-up lead.  Vu registered a birdie on No. 5 to get the match back to all square, but Carta came back to win the next hole and would never relinquish the lead the rest of the way.  A sand save par on the 390-yard, par four seventh would put Carta ahead, 2-up. 
The reigning NCAA Individual Champion, Carta then won holes 12 and 14 to go 4-up with four to play.  She then clinched the 5&3 win with a par on No. 16.  A product of Udine, Italy, Carta moved her career match play record to 6-2 in two years at Duke. 
"My game is back together," said Carta.  "It has been a really tough fall, because I've been sick the entire time, I'm still sick now. This morning it just clicked, there was that button and I was like, 'hey, this is over. Fall is over, this is match play, not stroke play. Just focus one shot at a time, don't think about your opponent's game.'"
Carta's victory would even the score, 1-1, as senior Sandy Choi dropped a 3&2 decision to UCLA's Curtis Cup player Bronte Law, who is the No. 2 ranked women's amateur in the world behind Duke's Leona Maguire, her GB and I team-mate
Facing the tough task of defeating Law, Choi held strong the entire match.  On the first hole, Law drained a 60-foot birdie putt, but Choi came right back to sink a 20-footer to match the sophomore.  Choi trailed 2-down heading to the back nine, but notched back-to-back birdies to get the match to all square.  Unfortunately, Choi suffered a three-putt bogey on No. 12 to fall behind and she couldn't get the match back in hand the rest of the way. 
Choi, who is from Seoul, South Korea, hit it tight on the 523-yard, par five No. 14, but Law came back to stick it closer.  Choi missed her birdie putt and Law made hers to go ahead 2-up with four to play.  Another bogey on No. 16 gave Law victory. 
With the match even, 1-1, Maguire became centre stage once again against Mariel Galdiano of the Bruins.  Galdiano birdied No. 2 to take the early lead but Duke's two-time All-America responded with birdies on No. 4 and No. 5 to take the 1-up lead.  The birdie on the 365-yard, par four fifth came from off the fringe from 16 feet.  Maguire, a product of Cavan, Ireland, would not give the lead away the rest of the match. 
Maguire won hole No. 8 with a par to go 3-up, but Galdiano came back to birdie No. 9 and the duo went to the back nine with the Duke star holding a 2-up advantage.  Maguire would go 3-up after 14 and clinched the match on No. 16 with a two-putt par, winning 4 and 2. 
"The best players and best teams in the country are here, and obviously it is a redo from nationals last year," said Maguire.  "It is a little different dynamic. It maybe does not feel quite as much as on the line, but it is definitely good preparation to see where teams are at and obviously with players graduating and then new freshmen coming in."
Duke went ahead, 2-1, following Maguire's win with Lisa Maguire and Belac remaining on the course. 
Belac, a rookie from Portoroz, Slovenia, never trailed in her match against Bethany Wu, after going ahead, 1-up, following a par on No. 3.  Following a bogey by Belac on the fourth hole, the match went back to all square where it stood until the seventh hole when Belac went ahead, 1-up, with a par.  She would go 2-up through eight holes with a par, before winning No. 10 with a par and then sinking a long birdie putt on the 157-yard, par three 11th to go 4-up.  Belac clinched her match on No. 16 with a two-putt par, winning 3&2 over Wu. 
On Belac winning and securing a point for the Blue Devils, "Huge, you never know how somebody is going to be in match play," said Brooks.  "I was with Lisa the whole day so I never saw Ana hit a shot, but I know she beat a really good player."
Lisa Maguire was in a tight match with Clare Legaspi the entire day with neither golfer going ahead by more than a 1-up ledger through 17 holes.  Maguire, who is from Cavan, Ireland, dropped the second hole, but came back to win the third and fifth holes on her way to going ahead, 1-up.  With bogeys on No. 10 and No. 11, Maguire fell behind, 1-down, with seven holes remaining.  She just couldn't get the birdie putts to drop on the way in and fell, 2-up, to Legaspi. 
Last year, the Blue Devils knocked off Stanford, 4-1, before falling to Southern California, 4-1, in the title match of the East Lake Cup. 
The match-ups for Wednesday's championship feature Lisa Maguire off first against Eunwon Park, Carta versus Ellen Takada, Leona Maguire against Julianne Alvarez and Belac anchoring against Wenyung Keh.
A victory Wednesday for the Blue Devils over the Huskies would give Duke its first win of the 2016-17 campaign as it wraps up the fall season.
"I'm going to make sure we take Washington very seriously," said Brooks.  "Washington is a good team, plus this is match play and you've got to get after it."
Women's Division
(No. 3) Duke def. (No. 2) UCLA 3-2
(No. 4) Washington def. (No. 1) Stanford 4-1
Stanford (No. 1)                                vs.                                Washington (No. 4)
Andrea Lee (5&4)                                                                 Eun Won Park
Casey Danielson                                                          (2&1) Ellen Takada
Sierra Kersten                                                             (3&1)  Julianne Alvarez
Albane Valenzuela                                                      (5&4) Sarah Rhee
Shannon Aubert                                                          (5&4) Wenyung Keh
UCLA (No. 2)                                    vs.                                Duke (No.3)
Bronte Law (3&2)                                                                 Sandy Choi
Lilia Vu                                                                       (5&3) Virginia Elena Carta
Clare Legaspi (2up)                                                              Lisa Maguire
Mariel Galdiano                                                          (4&2) Leona Maguire
Bethany Wu                                                                (3&2)  Ana Belac

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