The Lake Course at Grand National will host the NCAA Championships next May, so this was a golden opportunity for teams to check out the venue early in the year. When the dust settled, the No. 1 team in the land outlasted host Auburn in a one-hole playoff.
This should come as no real surprise, since the Blue Devils have consistently fielded an impressive lineup each of the past several seasons. It seems as though Dan Brooks simply reloads, and seldom has to rebuild.
Case in point, this years group. U.S. Womens Amateur Champion Virada Nirapathpongporn leads this talented bunch, with fellow senior Leigh Anne Hardin adding her solid All-American play. Sophomore Liz Janangelo may very well be the most explosive player on this team. Recruiting talented players is the area where Brooks is a step above most other coaches.
Brooks didnt miss a beat this season, attracting the best newcomers in the land. Anna Grzebien and Brittany Lang joined the Duke juggernaut this fall, and made an impact their first event out.
Anna posted a top 30 finish at The Preview, but it was Lang who really impressed me. An opening round 67 vaulted Brittany to the top of the leaderboard. She ultimately finished in a tie for eighth. Lang was one the most sought after juniors in the country, and now is one of the longest hitters in the collegiate game.
With a perfect blend of veterans and newcomers, Brooks seems to have a monopoly on having balance of talent each and every year. This equals victories, and a lot of them.
So as the Blue Devils captured their first of what is likely to be many team titles this season, perhaps the only question to be answered is just how many times will they take home top honors? As long as complacency doesnt set it, and I dont believe it will, Duke has the ability to take the home the hardware every time they tee it up.