AUSTIN, TEXAS - After sitting in second place for almost the entire tournament, the top-ranked Duke women's golf team came back to notch a one-stroke victory on Sunday over Oklahoma State in the 2005 Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas. The Blue Devils registered their third one-stroke victory of the season with the win at the 6,323 yard, Par 72 University of Texas Golf Club.
'One of the best things about this win is we won by shooting high numbers,' said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. 'The team was patient and that is what it took on this course.'
Heading into the final round, Duke trailed Arkansas by three strokes and Oklahoma State was two back from the Blue Devils. Oklahoma State started off very hot on Sunday and Arkansas struggled early as the Razorbacks fell back into third place quickly. The tournament came down to the Blue Devils and Cowboys for the title.
'As a whole, we played tee to green better than we scored,' said Brooks. 'The greens were not giving us a lot.'
Oklahoma State held a lead until the very end when Annie Thurman-Young was cruising at 3-under-par through 15 holes, but finished her final three holes at 7-over-par. This gave the Blue Devils an opening and Duke was able to capitalize as Liz Janangelo, Brittany Lang, Anna Grzebien and Niloufar Aazam-Zanganeh turned in a 1-over-par over total over the final three holes to win by one stroke.
'It feels really good to come out of top,' said Grzebien. 'We were really patient and with the conditions it was difficult out there. The wind and the new greens were very firm to make it tough.'
The Blue Devils turned in a final day round of 300 and finished with a three-day total of 914 with Oklahoma State (915), Texas (915), Arizona State (926), Arkansas (927), TCU (938), Missouri (948), Tulsa (951), Texas A&M (952) and New Mexico (954) rounding out the top 10.
Duke's charge on Sunday was led by its sophomores Lang and Grzebien. After coming off her season-worst round of 80 on Saturday, Lang collected a team-best four birdies and shot a 73 on the final day. A McKinney, Texas product, Lang birdied the first two par five's and had key birdies on hole's No. 12 and 18 on the back nine. She finished tied for 10th with a three-day total of 230.
Grzebien tied a career-best with a second place finish on the weekend. A native of Narragansett, R.I., Grzebien continued her steady play with a 74 on Sunday to finish with a total of 226.
'Anna hits her irons hard and on a windy day that was her greatest asset,' said Brooks. 'Her iron play and her tremendous short game carried her -- she has the best short game in the country. You are going to miss greens, no matter how well you hit it, with those kind of winds. She has the short game for it and she used her strength to battle through it.'
Janangelo, a junior from West Hartford, Conn., posted a 76 over the final 18 holes. She compiled a three-day total of 228, which was tied for seventh, individually. Over the final 10 holes, Aazam-Zanganeh played the course at 1-over-par as the Lausanne, Switzerland product finished with a 77. For the weekend, she notched a total of 231 to finish tied for 14th.
'Everyone is feeling great,' said Janangelo. 'To finish as well as we did is good and exciting.'
Pandolfi, a freshman out of Navarre, Fla., struggled over the weekend and finished with an 83 on Sunday. She was tied for 42nd with a three-day ledger of 231.
The Blue Devils also registered one-stroke victories at the Mason Rudolph Championship and ACC/SEC Challenge. Duke will next travel to the Bryan National Collegiate on April 1-3 in Browns Summitt, N.C.
'The name of the game is how you handle your low points,' said Brooks. 'Do you remain confident in yourself, remain patient and wait it out, or do you panic. I think we have waited it out really well and taken it in stride. You realize you are good and eventually you will come out on top.'