April 20, 2009

Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

- The No. 8 Wake Forest women's golf team came into Sunday's final round of the 2009 ACC Women's Golf Championship with a 17-shot lead and thwarted any thoughts of a competitors comeback with a spectacular round of 287 to claim its fourth ACC Title.

The Demon Deacons finished with a 54-hole total of 17-over par, which was 24-shots better than second place North Carolina.

"We are so excited about winning and I'm so proud and happy for the students," said Wake Forest head coach Dianne Dailey. "To be able to see the rewards of their hard work and to see such three stellar rounds was great. The course was very hard and the students wanted to win every day and they did."

The individual race was much closer as sophomore Natalie Sheary, who came into the final round with a one-shot lead over three-time defending ACC champion Amanda Blumenherst of Duke, downed Blumenherst on the first playoff hole to win her first ACC Individual Title.

Sheary and Blumenherst found themselves tied through 17 holes on Sunday. Blumenherst would bogey No. 17 to fall one shot back but made a clutch birdie on the par-5 18th to pull even with Sheary as her birdie putt on the final hole just slid by the cup.

The players then returned to the 18th for the first playoff hole, and both would find their way to the green in three shots. Both players came up a bit short on their first putts and it was Sheary who was able to convert her par putt for the title.

"I knew on the playoff hole that if I just played my game and didn't try to go for it, I would be ok," said Sheary. "The second time through, the 18th hole played a lot different than it did the first time. The wind really picked up and we both came up short and left ourselves with some long putts. I knew I had to two-putt after seeing Amanda's first putt and I was able to get it done."
Four different players held at least a share of the lead at some point on Sunday. Besides Sheary and Blumenherst, Wake Forest senior Nannette Hill and Duke senior Jennie Lee each found their names on top of the leaderboard mid-way through the final round.

Hill was 1-under for the round at the turn and made two pars to start the back nine to take a one-stroke lead. However, she would make four bogeys coming in but still managed to finish fourth overall at 4-over par.

Sheary birdied her first hole out of the gate to take an early two-shot lead but would make five bogies over the next nine holes to slip to 4-over for the round. She then righted the ship and made a clutch birdie on the par-3 16th to pull even with Blumenherst. She played her last eight holes at 1-under par.

Senior Jean Chua turned in the round of the day for the Demon Deacons with a 2-under 69. Chua made the turn at 1-over par 36 but quickly got her round back to even with a birdie on No. 11.

She would then play her last seven holes at 2-under par, including a birdie on the par-5 18th to close with a back nine of 3-under 33. She finished the tournament tied for 5th at 6-over par.

"I hit the ball really well and left myself with some really short putts," said Chua. "Even though I missed some, I knew that if I stayed steady, the putts would eventually fall and they did down the stretch. I started the day a little nervous but we talked last night about coming out and playing like we were chasing instead of leading. I think that helped us keep the attacking mind set."

After shooting a 79 in the open round, sophomore Allie Bodemann had perhaps the best final two rounds of anyone, shooting a 2-over 73 on Saturday and an even-par round of 71 on Sunday.

She opened her final round with bogies at No. 2 and No. 4 but followed that with 11-straight pars and a nice birdie on the par-3 16th. She then stuck her approach on the par-5 18th to three feet and rolled in the birdie effort to finish at even-par.

Bodemann made a total of 28 pars and four birdies over her final 36 holes. She finished the tournament with a total of 38 pars, which was second in the field.

Freshman Cheyenne Woods also finished her final round strong, birdying two out of the last four holes. She opened her round with four bogies in her first 11 holes but back-to-back birdies on No. 15 and No. 16, followed by solid pars on 17 and 18 gave her a round of 2-over 73.

Woods finished the tournament at 13-over par and tied for 16th.

The 24-shot margin of victory is the largest for any team outside of Duke. The Blue Devils won by 47-shots in 2005.

Wake also snapped the Blue Devils streak of 13-straight ACC Team Titles. Duke had won each of the last 13 titles since Wake went back-to-back in 1994-95.

Sheary's win in the playoff over Blumenherst also crushed the Blue Devil standout's hopes of becoming the first ACC golfer to win four-straight ACC individual titles.

"It's great, we all prepared so well and our hard work really paid off," Sheary said on winning an ACC title.

Hill also echoed those sentiments. "This just feels great. We did everything we had to do this week and we had fun. It feels amazing to go out my senior year with an ACC Title. Jean (Chua) and I have worked so hard and to come out winning the ACC Championship is great."

The Demon Deacons have earned the ACC's automatic bid into the NCAA regionals and will learn where they will play on Monday, April 27 when the NCAA announces the regional fields. The regionals are slated for May 7-9.