HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- Third-ranked Duke opened the 2014 Darius Rucker Intercollegiate with an even-par 284 and jumped out to a commanding nine-stroke lead after Day 1 at the 6,142-yard, Par 71 Long Cove Club.
The Blue Devils registered 10 birdies and lead by nine against Vanderbilt (293) and No. 6 Alabama (293). South Carolina (294), North Carolina (295), Stanford (297), No. 7 Arkansas (297), LSU (297), No. 8 Oklahoma (298) and Wake Forest (299) round out the teams in the top 10.
Duke, which opened play on the back nine, featured two of the top scores of the day by freshman Yu Liu and sophomore Celine Boutier as the duo each fired a two-under-par, 69, and are tied second on the individual leaderboard. Alabama’s Stephanie Meadow carded a four-under-par 69 and leads following 18 holes.
Liu, who is out of Beijing, China, carded birdies on her first two holes and took the individual lead out from the start. She dropped a shot on No. 17 before carding her third birdie of the day on the 317-yard, par four fifth hole. Liu closed with a bogey on No. 7, birdie on No. 8 and par on the ninth to close with a 69.
A product of Montrouge, France, Boutier hit 17-of-18 greens for the day as she posted 16 pars and two birdies. She collected her two birdies on No. 13 and No. 1 as she, while hitting 12 fairways and totaling 33 putts.
Freshman Esther Lee registered carded 10 consecutive pars before falling to two-over-par with bogeys on No. 2 and No. 4. Lee, who is from Los Alamitos, Calif., came back to roll in birdies on No. 6 and No. 8 to move back to even par, before dropping a shot on the final hole to finish with a one-over-par, 72. She hit 12 fairways, 11 greens and had 30 putts on the day. Lee is tied 10th overall.
Senior Laetitia Beck totaled a three-over-par, 74, on Friday and sits tied 22nd on the individual leaderboard. Beck notched one birdie on the front and back nine, while hitting 15 greens, 10 fairways and rolling 36 putts.
Blue Devil senior Alejandra Cangrejo suffered an injured elbow on her fifth hole of the day and was forced to withdraw from Friday’s round. It was the same injury Cangrejo suffered as a sophomore at NCAA Regionals. She is expected to miss Saturday’s second round and will be re-evaluated prior to Sunday’s final round.
Duke will tee off in the second round on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m., along with Vanderbilt and Alabama.