Duke wins Women's NCAA title; Chen top individual


Duke held off a rally from defending national champions USC to win the Women's NCAA Division I Championships for the sixth time. It's the first national title for the Blue Devils since they won three in a row from 2005-2007.

No. 3-ranked Duke began the day with a six-shot lead over the top-ranked Trojans, and while USC briefly drew even during the final round at Tulsa Country Club, Duke's 6-under 274 total was good enough for a two-shot win. They finished the week with a 10-over total of 1,130.

"I have a great team. They are just great in every way you want a golf team to be," Duke head coach Dan Brooks told reporters. "It's just fantastic. I don't know what more I can say. Just very excited about what we just did."

USC shot a school record 10-under 270 during the final round and played the last 36 holes in 12 under as a team, but their bid for back-to-back titles came up just short. No. 2-ranked UCLA finished third, 15 shots off the pace, while Oklahoma - who led after each of the first two rounds - finished fourth.

While her team missed out on another title, USC's Doris Chen took home top individual honors after a 3-under 67 in the final round. Chen, a runner-up last year at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, finished the week at 6-under 274, two shots ahead of Duke's Celine Boutier who shot a final-round 69 despite a three-putt on the final green.

"I tried to make that putt (on 18) and it did not go in, but then I realized we had just won the national championship and I just started crying," Boutier said. "Everyone thought I was crying because of my three-putt, but I was really emotional because I think this is a very special team. We have a really good team this year, and I am very happy for our seniors."

"I was glad that my putts were finally falling," Chen said. "The couple rounds before, I had stuck my shots close to the flag, but wasn't able to putt in from a medium distance. I hit some great shots today and my putting was there, too. Most of all I kept myself composed and enjoyed the game."

Stanford's Lauren Kim, who grabbed sole possession of the lead while playing ahead of Chen and Boutier during the final round, finished alone in third, three shots back. The only other individuals to finish the week under par were Mississippi State's Ally McDonald and Alabama's Stephanie Meadow, who tied for fourth at 1 under. Texas A&M's Marijosse Navarro finished alone in sixth at even-par 280 after a final-round 66.

Arizona State broke out of a logjam with a 1-under 279 during the final round to grab fifth place in the team competition, 20 shots behind the Blue Devils. Mississippi State finished alone in sixth, while Arizona and Ohio State tied for seventh.