Trio of Duke golfers lead Triangle representatives at the Open
Posted June 17, 2014
Updated June 18, 2014
The Triangle will be well represented at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship held at Pinehurst No. 2 this week, as seven local golfers will be a part of the field.
A trio of Duke golfers will lead the group of locals at the event; the most successful of them is Brittany Lang.
Currently ranked 36th in the world, Lang competed at Duke for two years, where she was named the 2004 ACC and NCAA Freshman Golfer of the Year and the 2005 ACC Player of the Year. While still an amateur, Lang competed in the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open and earned her best finish at the major, finishing in a tie for second.
The Richmond, Va., native has one career LPGA Tour victory. That came in 2012 at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, where she defeated three other women in a three-hole playoff. With the victory, Lang became the first Duke golfer to win on the LPGA Tour.
Lang has made the cut in 179 of the 190 tournaments she has entered since turning professional in 2005, so look for Lang to be playing during the weekend.
The most successful of the players with Triangle connections is the only one who did not go to Duke. Wake Forest alumna Laura Diaz, currently ranked 83rd in the world, has been playing on the LPGA Tour since 1999 and has two career victories, both coming in 2002.
Before earning her card on the LPGA Tour, Diaz played on the Ladies European Tour and was named the 1998 Rookie of the Year.
Diaz qualified for the Women’s Open as the first alternate from Butler, Pa., sectional qualifying. Her best finish at the Open came in 2002, when she finished tied for seventh.
Former Duke golfer Mina Harigae, ranked 42nd in the world, will also make the trip to Pinehurst for the Women’s Open.
Harigae played at Duke for just one year, 2008, before turning professional. She played on the Futures Tour, the LPGA Tour’s developmental system in 2009, where she won three tournaments and was the leading money winner, which earned her membership on the LPGA Tour for the 2010 season.
In 2012, Harigae earned her best finish at the U.S. Women’s Open, finishing tied for 28th.
Playing in her first U.S. Open will be current Duke golfer and French native Celine Boutier. The 2014 ACC Player of the Year, Boutier qualified for the Open as an amateur by claiming medalist honors at The Heritage Golf Course in Westminster, Colo., at sectional qualifying.
The Open will be the third high profile tournament for Boutier in a little over a month. After qualifying for the Open on May 15th, Boutier helped Duke claim the 2014 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship on May 23rd.
Tiger Woods' neice, Cheyenne Woods, will make her second appearance at the U.S. Women's Open this week. Woods, a Wake Forest alumna, missed the cut in 2012, her first LPGA appearance. Since then, she has competed in two other majors, but missed the cut in both.
Woods qualified for the U.S. Open at sectional qualifying in Scottsdale, Ariz. on the same day her uncle announced he would not be competing in Pinehurst.
Current Wake Forest golfer Sierra Sims qualified as the first alternate out of the sectional qualifier at The Woodlands (Texas) Country Club. Sims just completed her freshman year with the Demon Deacons.
Former University of North Carolina golfer Catherine O'Donnell will play in her first U.S. Open this weekend after finishing atop the leaderboard at the sectional qualifier at Rumson, N.J. O'Donnell was a four-time All-ACC performer and an All-America performer at UNC.