No Beth Bauer? No problem.
The Duke women's golf team, which lost the two-time All-American to the professional ranks this summer, proved that it still has the talent - if not great depth - to challenge for a national championship.
The Blue Devils - all six of them - survived the unpredictable weather at Finley Golf Course en route to a victory in the Franklin Street Trust Tar Heel Invitational on Sunday.
Duke, which finished the three-round tournament at 30-over-par, defeated second-place Tennessee by 19 strokes. North Carolina finished 12th at 91-over.
The 17-team field included four teams ranked in the top 13 of the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings.
"Duke has six of the best players in the country," said UNC coach Sally Austin, who has 10 players.
"We don't get to play but with five. They've got only six players, but they've got six players that are going to be in the top-25 players in the country."
Junior Candy Hannemann and freshman Leigh Anne Hardin led the way for the Blue Devils, finishing at a 4-over-par total of 220 to earn co-medalist honors.
Duke senior Kalen Anderson entered the final round tied for first, but she shot an 82 to finish tied for eighth at 10-over-par. Freshman Virada Nirapathpongporn shot 80 to finish
15-over and give the Blue Devils four players in the top-16 individually.
Maria-Garcia Estrada, who was not among Duke's top five and played as a individual, also finished at 15-over.
Duke coach Dan Brooks said he likes to keep a small roster so he can work with his players on an individual basis.
"I just feel like I can do my job better when the team is smaller," Brooks said.
Only 25-of-91 players shot in the 70s during Sunday's final round, which had players walking around the course dressed in mittens, sweatshirts and ear warmers. Georgia's Summer Sirmons shot the low round of the day with a 71.
Fifty-eight players shot in the 70s on Friday, and there were 41 such rounds on Saturday. Anderson shot the tournament's lone round in the 60s with a
3-under-par 69 on Saturday.
Every team but Vanderbilt had its worst score on Sunday.
"Two days ago, I was looking for shade. I'm walking around out there just hot," Brooks said. "I was freezing today. It was an incredible change."
The Tar Heels were not immune to the cold. Sophomore Abby Spector shot the low round for UNC on Sunday, carding a 79.
Freshman Ashley Prange and junior Heather Angell entered the final round in 20th and 27th place, respectively. But Prange shot 84 to finish tied for 26th, and Angell had an 86 to tie for 44th.
Prange, who was also UNC's low scorer at the Dodge ACC/SEC Invitational Shootout, hit just four greens on Sunday. She had three double bogeys in her first eight holes.
"Overall, it was nothing but a bad day, that's all you can call it," Prange said. "The only thing that was decent was my bunker play."
Austin said Prange has a fighter's instinct that is lacking on the rest of her squad.
While Austin said her players didn't quit, she wants them to develop more of a "competitive fire."
"We've got to get a little more fight in all of us," Austin said. "We're shooting scores North Carolina teams ought not be shooting."
n South Florida's Kelly Lagedrost had a hole-in-one at the 14th hole, a
140-yard par-3. Lagedrost shot a final-round 75 and tied for eighth overall.
n Anderson and Hannemann continued to play well after posting strong results during the summer. Hannemann won the Women's North & South Amateur Championship at the end of June.
Anderson was the runner-up to Bauer at the Women's Eastern Amateur Championship a few weeks earlier. Bauer finished six strokes ahead of Anderson.
Brooks said its easier for players to post low scores in the fall because they have been playing on a consistent basis.
"You get a lot of momentum in the summer time," Brooks said. "The weather is good, you're playing round after round."
n Duke won the Invitational for the fourth consecutive year. Hannemann earned individual medalist honors in 1998 with a 54-hole total of 212.
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