KirkwoodGolf: Maguire, Blue Devils Sweep Jim West Challenge Titles

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Maguire, Blue Devils Sweep Jim West Challenge Titles

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – What a way to open the 2017-18 season.  Records were shattered over the last two days as the preseason fifth-ranked Duke women's golf team competed in the Jim West Challenge in The Woodlands, Texas.
The Blue Devils carded a school-record 33-under-par, 819, on their way to totaling a 22-stroke victory at the 6,010-yard, par 71 The Fazio Course at Carlton Woods.  Duke finished the event Tuesday with a seven-under-par, 277, after collecting rounds of 269 and 273 over the first two rounds.  Oklahoma (841), Texas Tech (842), Kent State (844) and Texas A&M (851) rounded out the top five teams. 
The team victory marked the 129th career victory for Duke head coach Dan Brooks and the first season-opening win since the 2006-07 campaign when the Blue Devils claimed the Mason Rudolph Championship in Nashville, Tenn.  It also set a new Jim West Challenge tournament record for under par (-33) and 54-hole score (819). 
"It took us about five holes the first day before putts started to fall," said Brooks.  "Once they started it really kept going the rest of the tournament.  Again, I was most happy that the team responded to favorable conditions with birdies."

Senior Leona Maguire registered her eighth collegiate victory as she turned in a school and tournament -record 13-under-par, 200, with rounds of 67, 63 and 70.  She won by three strokes over Maddie Szeryk of Texas A&M (203).  A native of Cavan, Ireland, Maguire now ranks third all-time at Duke with eight wins and is four away from Amanda Blumenherst and Mary Anne Widman (12).
"I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season," commented Maguire.  "I'm really proud of my performance and everybody on the team, we all stepped up and I'm excited for the season ahead of us."
Maguire registered four birdies in her final round, including draining a long putt for birdie on No. 18 to close the tournament with an individual-best 18 birdies.  She hit 15 greens, 12 fairways and rolled 31 putts.

Sophomore Ana Belac rounded out her third straight ledger in the 60s with a three-under, 68, on her way to finishing tied third overall with a career-best nine-under-par, 204.  A product of Portoroz, Slovenia, Belac featured a bogey-free round Tuesday as she notched birdies on No. 2, No. 5 and No. 17.  She knocked her approach shots on No. 2 and No. 5 to within two feet for birdie and then holed out from 10 feet for birdie on No. 17.  Belac finished the 54 holes with a tournament-best 43 pars.  She missed only five greens over last two days.
With a three-day total of 205, freshman Jaravee Boonchant tied for the third-lowest score by a Duke freshman in Blue Devil history.  Boonchant, who hails from Bangkok, Thailand, finished eight-under-par with rounds of 66, 71 and 68.  She started hot Tuesday with three birdies over her first six holes and then played her final 12 holes at even par.  Boonchant tied for a tournament best with a 4.44 stroke average (-5) on par fives over the three rounds. 
Junior Virginia Elena Carta added her 15th career top 20 placement as she notched rounds of 69, 70 and 71 for a three-under-par, 210, which was tied 12th.  She notched three birdies on her final day of play.  Carta, who is from Udine, Italy, hit 15 greens, 11 fairways and had 33 putts Tuesday.
Lisa Maguire, a senior from Cavan, Ireland, finished the challenge with rounds of 76, 75 and 78 for a 229 to tie for 58th.
The Blue Devils will next compete in the Windy City Collegiate Oct. 2-3 in Chicago, Ill.

Duke Results
1 1 Leona Maguire Duke 67 63 70 200 -13
T4 T3 Ana Belac Duke 67 69 68 204 -9
T6 T6 Jaravee Boonchant Duke 66 71 68 205 -8
T11 T12 Virginia Elena Carta Duke 69 70 71 210 -3
T54 T58 Lisa Maguire Duke 76 75 78 229 +16