Duke claims its 22nd ACC Championship, but first in match play
Duke’s collection of ACC Championship hardware is plentiful – there are 22 of them, in fact – but the one the Blue Devils earned (...)
Duke’s collection of ACC Championship hardware is plentiful – there are 22 of them, in fact – but the one the Blue Devils earned on Sunday at Sedgefield Golf Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, was different. Like a handful of other conferences, the ACC added match play to its league championship this season. Duke has never won that way before.
Duke head coach Dan Brooks has done something similar to this. Two years ago, when Duke won the 2019 NCAA Championship, it became the first of the team’s seven national titles won in a head-to-head format. Call it the changing nature of college golf.
“It feels a little bit like we won twice because the stroke play and then match play,” Brooks said. “It is really cool. I love Sedgefield and I love the way they run this event. It was a little bit of an experiment throwing match play in. All of us coaches got together and decided to do this.
Scores: ACC Championship final
“I know we won and I am bound to feel great about that, but I think it’s a really great addition. It feels a little bit like nationals and that is what we hope the conference does is sort of prepare you for further postseason. A great event.”
Duke edged Wake Forest after 54 holes of stroke play to take the No. 1 seed on the four-team match-play bracket. The Blue Devils were 11 under for three rounds, with Gina Kim winning the individual title at 10 under.
Duke drew Virginia in the semifinals and advanced by a 3-2 margin. When Florida State defeated Wake Forest, 4-1, they secured a spot in the final match against Duke.
Duke freshman Phoebe Brinker was strong in the lead-off match both days, getting a Duke point on the board early. After Jaravee Boonchant defeated Florida State’s Taylor Roberts, the clinching point fell to Kim.
Kim had wrapped up Duke’s semifinal victory over Virginia, and did it again on Sunday when she parred No. 16 in her match against Florida State’s Beatrice Wallin. When Wallin three-putted for bogey, it gave Kim a 3-and-2 win to seal the title for the Blue Devils.
Alice Chen and Erica Shepherd still won their matches at the back of the lineup to give Duke a 5-0 margin of victory.
“The individual win was really nice because I could see how much I have grown personally,” said Kim. “But to be able to contribute to an amazing team, a family of mine and just to get the win out here is really special and to me the most important thing out here,” said Kim. “I am really grateful to be in this position.”
This is Duke’s sixth ACC title over the past nine years and its fourth at Sedgefield.