DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 25, 2007)-- Windy and wet conditions did not affect Duke's drive towards a third-consecutive NCAA Division I National Championship Friday at the LPGA International's Legends Course. The Blue Devils built on their eight-stroke lead after the third round and posted the best team score, a two-over 290 to finish at 1,170 (+18) for the tournament, 15 shots better than second-place Purdue.
Duke became just the second program in NCAA history to win three-straight titles, as Arizona State hoisted the first-place trophy from 1993-1995. The Boilermakers had their highest finish in the NCAA Championships, shooting a 1,185 (+33) to earn runner-up honors. UCLA, who also played in the final pairings with Duke and Purdue, took third at 1,186 (+34).
"We were eight shots up and after the first nine and it was still about the same (margin)," Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks said. "I felt like we were playing pretty well and they were just staying right there.
"That gave me a good feeling to know that we were the same after the turn because I felt like we were a solid enough team and that we make enough good choices that we could have an eight-shot gap going into the backside and that we could sustain the lead all the way to the end."
The Blue Devils had three players finish in the top 10 and were led by sophomore Amanda Blumenherst, who placed fourth with a one-over total of 217. She was at level-par in her final round, while senior Anna Grzebien turned in the best final 18 holes for the champions, posting a 70 (-2) to take sixth at 220 (+4). Sophomore Jennie Lee rounded out the Duke trio in the top ten, placing seventh at 221 (+5).
Arkansas' Stacy Lewis claimed medalist honors after shooting the low round of the championships and equaling her career-best 18 with a 66 (-6). Lewis, who was one of six individuals playing in the tournament, opened her back nine with five-straight birdies, one off her personal-best stretch she set last year in Columbus, Ohio at the NCAA Championships.
"I was a little frustrated after nine holes because I had eight or nine easy birdie putts and I only made two of them," Lewis said. "Coach (Kelley Hester) told me to calm down and that it would be okay. Then, things started falling in place."
Lewis entered Friday in third place, trailing Purdue's Christel Boeljon by six shots. Lewis' strong round and a slow start by Boeljon gave the Razorback senior a two-shot lead when she closed out her round about two hours ahead of Boeljon.
Boeljon ended up with a 76 (+4) in her final round, but was able to share second with USC's Paola Moreno. The duo posted four-round totals of 286 (-2) along with Lewis, those three were the only student-athletes who completed the championships under par.
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--Story courtesy NCAA