NCAA Championship: Duke women defeat Wake Forest in wild final match for seventh title

Walt Beazley, Razorbacks Athletics Communications

NCAA Championship: Duke women defeat Wake Forest in wild final match for seventh title

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NCAA Championship: Duke women defeat Wake Forest in wild final match for seventh title

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the seventh time in program history, Duke is the 2019 NCAA Div. I Women’s Golf National Champion after defeating Wake Forest 3-2 in an all-ACC final match at Blessings Golf Club.

“I couldn’t feel more proud than I do right now,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “We’ve had a tough team all year long and they were tough this week.”

It was Duke’s anchor, Ana Belac, who put the first point on the board in the national championship match. The Blue Devil junior defeated Wake Forest freshman Vanessa Knecht 5&3 to give Duke the early lead.

Shortly after, the first two pairings went into a playoff, opening the door for the penultimate pairing of Duke’s Gina Kim and Wake Forest’s Emelia Migliaccio to make the next move. Kim won the 17th hole to tie the match with Migliaccio, but on No. 18, the Demon Deacon sophomore nestled her second shot right next to the pin for a birdie and the first Wake Forest point.

PHOTOS: Images from the championship

In the second pairing on the 19th hole (played on No. 1), Duke’s Jaravee Boonchant took advantage of a Jennifer Kupcho error off the tee, making par to give the Blue Devils their second point and move them just one match away from the national title.

On No. 15, the second playoff hole, Wake Forest’s Siyun “Swing” Liu picked up point number two for her Demon Deacons to tie the finals at 2-2.

The finals came down to the third pairing of the day between Duke sophomore Miranda Wang and and Wake Forest freshman Letizia Bagnoli. Bagnoli put her second shot from the fairway left into the water with a fairway wood, putting Duke in prime position to clinch the title.

Bagnoli’s fourth shot after taking the penalty came up short of a greenside bunker, but her fifth was great, coming to rest inside four feet. Just off the green with her second shot, Wang’s pitch to 30 feet set up a two-putt par to win. The first missed and the second was conceded, giving the Blue Devils the win.

RELATED: Jennifer Kupcho’s amazing amateur run ends

“I would just like to say that I am very thankful to be on this team,” said Wang. “Honestly I was not thinking about winning this hole, I was thinking about, ‘I am very grateful to be on this team.’ I did not do very well in my first two matches but my teammates got me through a lot, so I was like, ‘I’m going to do this for my team.’’

Duke last won the title in 2014, which was the final year of the old format. Now, the Blue Devils have a national title under the new match-play format.

The win also snapped a streak of four straight NCAA titles for Pac-12 teams.

NCAA women’s golf championships since 1982

Arizona State, 8 (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2009, 2017)
Duke, 7 (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014, 2019)
Arizona, 3 (1996, 2000, 2018)
San Jose State, 3 (1987, 1989, 1992)
UCLA, 3 (1991, 2004, 2011)
USC, 3 (2003, 2008, 2013)
Florida, 2 (1985, 1986)
Tulsa, 2 (1982, 1988)
Alabama, 1 (2012)
Miami, 1 (1984)
Georgia, 1 (2001)
Purdue, 1 (2010)
Stanford, 1 (2015)
TCU, 1 (1983)
Washington, 1 (2016)

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