Duke, No. 10 in the latest Golfstat rankings, jumped in front after the opening round of the ACC Championship Thursday at the Beach Course at The Reserve Golf Club at Pawleys Island in Pawleys Island, S.C. behind Leona Maguire, a junior from Ireland and the No. 1 player in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
But right with Maguire in a tie for the top spot in the individual standings was North Carolina’s Bryana Nguyen, a junior from Columbia, Md. who helped the No. 41 Tar Heels get right in the middle of the hunt for the team title as they shot a 1-under-par 287 over the 6,192-yard, par-72 Beach Course layout.
Maguire, who won the ACC individual crown as a freshman two years ago, and Nguyen, coming off a strong runnerup finish two weekends again in the Bryan National Collegiate, shared the top spot in the individual chase, each carding a 4-under 68.
Maguire helped the Blue Devils card a 4-under 284 and take a one-shot lead in the team chase over No. 19 Miami, which posted a 3-under 285. North Carolina, No. 4 Florida State and No. 41 Clemson are another two shots behind the Hurricanes in a tie for third at 1-under 287.
No. 65 Notre Dame is tied for seventh with No. 78 Boston College and No. 47 Louisville at 10-over 298. No. 15 Wake Forest, missing some of its big guns, is last in the 12-team field at 312.
Backing up Maguire for the Blue Devils was Sandy Choi, a senior from South Korea who is tied for 13th with a 1-under 71. Virginia Elena Carta, a sophomore from Italy and the reigning NCAA individual champion, is another shot back in a tie for 15th with an even-par 72.
Gurbani Singh, a junior from India, is tied for 18th at 1-over 73 and Ana Belac, a freshman from Slovenia, is tied for 27th at 2-over 74 for Duke.
Backing up Nguyen for the Tar Heels was Leslie Cloots, a senior from Belgium who is part of a seven-player logjam tied for sixth at 2-under 70. Kelly Whaley, a sophomore from Farmington, Conn., bounced back from some recent struggles to post a 1-over 73 and is in the group tied for 18th.
Freshman Brynn Walker, the 2014 and 2015 PIAA Class AAA champion at Radnor, and Lexi Harkins, a junior from Crystal Lake, Ill., each carded a 4-over 76 and are in a group tied for 37th for North Carolina.
Notre Dame got contributions from a couple of Mount St. Joseph products. Alison Snakard, a junior from Collegeville, got off to a great start with a 1-over 73 and is tied for 18th. She shared medalist honors for the Irish with Jordan Ferreira, a senior from University Place, Wash.
The Mount’s 2013 PIAA Class AAA champion, Isabella DiLisio, a sophomore for the Irish from Hatfield is tied for 47th after a 6-over 78.
Wake Forest got a typically strong showing from Sierra Sims, a senior from Austin, Texas. Sims carded a 3-under 69 and is tied for third in the individual standings with Florida State’s Kim Metraux, a junior from Switzerland, and Miami’s Renate Grimstad, a freshman from Norway.
The Demon Deacons also got a solid 2-under 70 from Jennifer Kupcho, a sophomore from Littleton, Colo. who is in that logjam tied for sixth along with North Carolina’s Cloots.
Junior Erica Herr, the 2011 and 2012 PIAA Class AAA champion at Council Rock North, struggled to an 82 and is tied for 56th.
But the big story for the Demon Deacons was who didn’t play as injuries to Antonia Eberhard, a sophomore from Germany, and freshman Sierra Brooks, the runnerup at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur from Sorrento, Fla., prevented them from teeing it up.
Eberhard has had a nagging chest muscle injury while Brooks has been slow to recover from wrist surgery in December. I’m really not sure if they would be available to return in time for the regionals or if their potential absences would weigh against the Demon Deacons when it comes time to select the regional participants. Their lofty ranking would seem to make them a lock for a regional berth, but I have no idea how it all works.