Monday, June 25, 2012

Lang gives Duke program long overdue LPGA win

   One of the most inexplicable streaks in golf ended Sunday when Brittany Lang won the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Ontario.
  Lang became the first former Duke women's golfer to win on the LPGA tour.
  Talk about overdue.
  But golf, as anyone who's ever played knows, has its own way of doing things. Ask Jenny Chuasiriporn, the Duke golfer who lost the 1999 U.S. Women's Open to the legendary Se Ri Pak in a playoff. Chuasiriporn was a good player, not a great one, but for one charmed week she made herself a piece of history.
  It was Chuisiriporn's one shining professional moment but it was a great one.
  She was at the front end of what has become a golf dynasty, headed by Dan Brooks, who has the gift for spotting talent and cultivating it. Brooks and the Blue Devils have won five national championships, being similar in golf to what Mike Krzyzewski and his program have been to men's basketball.
   But LPGA victories had been an elusive target.
   From Amanda Blumenherst to Anna Grzebien, from Liz Janagelo to Virada Nirapathpongporn and from Beth Bauer to Candy Hanneman, Duke has produced outstanding players. The latest is Lindy Duncan, the reigning national player of the year.
   But for one reason or another, the LPGA victories hadn't come.
   Lang,a All-American at Duke in 2004 and 2005, has been close several times and is regarded as one of the tour's top players. But she needed a victory because that's what the best play for.
   When she got it Sunday, Lang got it for herself and for a program that didn't need LPGA Tour victories to validate its success but more than deserved it.
   "I can't believe it took me seven years to get a win out here," Lang said after her victory.
   Hard to believe it took the Blue Devils that long to break through. Perhaps, it's the first of many more.