Jim Quist @ACCTheQ –
Eighteen holes were not enough as Duke and Wake Forest left everything on the green in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship. The Blue Devils were behind in four of five matches on the back nine before rallying in sudden death. Duke won their seventh National Championship, their first since 2014 with a 3-2 win over the Demon Deacons in match play.
The presence of former NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Champions, Virginia Elena Carta of Duke and Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest contributed to the intensity of the competition.
Carta outlasted an opponent in the quarterfinals over 24 holes which kept Duke in play. The match (holes) tied an NCAA record.
Wake’s Kupcho, the world’s top-ranked amateur was unbeaten in the first two rounds. Teammate Emilia Migliaccio, the ACC Champion went 3-0 in match play.
In the finals Duke’s Ana Belac scored a 5&3 win over Wake’s Vanessa Knecht to notch the first point on the leaderboard.
Wake Forest’s Emilia Migliaccio birdied on the 18th for a 1 up victory over the Blue Devils’ Gina Kim. That tied the match at 1-1.
Kupcho forced sudden death with par on the 18th against Duke’s Jaravee Boonchant. A hooked tee shot that landed in the penalty area resulted in a bogey for Kupcho in the first playoff hole. Boonchant took two putts to par but it was enough to put Duke up 2-1.
Duke Women’s Golf
Duke’s Carta found a worthy opponent in Wake’s Siyun Liu as the two played 20 holes. Liu evened up the score, 2-2 for the Demon Deacons when she took a birdie on the par 5 2nd.
Another 20 hole battle ensued between the Blue Devils’ Miranda Wang and Wake’s Letzia Bagnoli. Both golfers sank a five foot putt on the first playoff hole. The second hole would prove to be more challenging and the decision maker.
Wang and Bagnoli took their tee shots onto the fairway but the second shot proved fatal for the Deac’s. Bagnoli’s shot went into the water with her ultimately bogeying the hole. Wang picked up her first match win with a conceded par.
Duke coach Dan Brooks said, “….I’ve never been with a group that has just stayed positive and just ground it out, and they did it this week, just like they have been doing it all year.”
Duke won the quarterfinal, semifinal and the final matches with 3-2 scores.
ACC Women’s Leader
The Virginia Tech women’s golf team had their first ever qualifier in the NCAA Championship round. The Hokies’ Amanda Hollandsworth, the first ever commit to the program and part of the 2013 signing class finished fifth individually.
Hollandsworth was the top finisher among 21 ACC golfers shooting even par 219. A recent graduate she’ll move on to the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open Championship in Charleston, May 31-June 2.
Wake Forest coach Kim Lewellen who is in her first year with the program summed it up, “It came down to the last, obviously shots, and it was just a great tournament and great competition.”
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