Duke still searching for elusive 1st major


BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Four former Duke players (Amanda Blumenhurst, Anna Grzebien, Brittany Lang, Jennie Lee) made the cut at this weekend’s U.S. Women’s Open, but barring a Johnny Miller-like final round Sunday from one of the four – and that probably won’t be enough – the school will still be seeking its first major championship winner.

It’s hard to believe that a college program as successful as Duke’s hasn’t won a major championship. The Blue Devil women have won five national championships since 1999 (’99, 2002, ’05, ’06 and ’07), and have boasted several NCAA Individual Champions, including most recently Grzebien (2005), Virada Nirapathpongporn (2002) and Candy Hanneman (2001). Blumenhurst is a former three-time National Player of the Year.

Several Dukies have come close to winning a major, most notably Jenny Chuasiriporn, who lost an epic 20-hole playoff in sudden death to Se Ri Pak at the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open. Lang also made a run at the same championship in 2005, finishing two shots out of a playoff after Birdie Kim’s unlikely hole out from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole at Cherry Hills.

Grzebien was the low Duke player in the field as the final round got underway Sunday morning. Grzebien was 6 over par, eight shots back of Cristie Kerr. Lang (+9),  Blumenhurst (+11) and Lee (+16) were well off the pace.