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LANDFALL TRADITION NEWS

Landfall Tradition preview:

 

Two-time defending champion South Carolina and four-time winner Duke aim to sustain strong Landfall Tradition history

 

Searching for clues on how to solve the Country Club of Landfall’s Dye course? Ask a coach or player from the Duke or South Carolina women’s golf teams. They’ve combined for the last six Landfall Tradition titles and are again among the favorites when the tournament begins Friday morning.

 

Duke coach Dan Brooks has directed his team to four Tradition titles, including three since 2015. The No. 11 Blue Devils won the Stephens Cup earlier this month, defeating South Carolina in the match play final at Seminole GC.

 

After 20 years of coaching here the Dye course ranks among Brooks’ two or three favorites.

 

“There is one smart way to play each course and that’s how great courses are. It’s your job to figure out that way for your game,” Brooks said. “It’s such a great Pete Dye course. He’s fantastic and then when he builds a gem, he somehow built hole after hole that’s so much fun to see what he’s asking you to do. It’s not a Pete Dye that just beats you up. There’s a smart way to play it. You can take a certain angle and if you don’t hit it great you’re in a chippable area.”

 

Kalen Anderson has led South Carolina to 23 tournament titles during her 16 years and her team is the two-time defending champion of the Landfall Tradition, winning in 2019 and 2021 (the tournament was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19).

 

Making aggressive swings to conservative targets and managing the wind correctly have fueled the Gamecocks’ success around the Dye, Anderson said.

 

Having college golf’s top-ranked player also helps.

 

Hannah Darling, a native of Scotland, earned her ranking through consistent excellence, finishing in the top-five in all three tournaments this fall. 

 

“I’ve been enjoying myself,” she said after her practice round Thursday. “Feel very free on the golf course. Been working really hard the last two years so it’s nice to get some results.”

 

A first-team All-American last year and the 2021 R&A Girls Amateur champion, Darling is looking for her first college victory. She won’t mind if strong winds blow across the Dye this weekend and isn’t stressed about breaking through with a win, knowing it will eventually happen if she keeps playing well.

 

“Her ballstriking separates herself from everybody,” her coach Anderson said. “You can hear it when she hits it. She’s just done some phenomenal work on  her putting and short game in the last semester and into the summer that’s made her a much more consistent player.”

 

Darling is one of seven Landfall Tradition participants in the top 20 of the Golfstat rankings, including her teammate Matilde Claisse, who is No. 17.

 

Others include UCF’s Tunrada Piddon (5), UNC’s Kayla Smith (10) and FSU’s Lottie Woad (11).

 

No. 2 Wake Forest features a pair of top-20 players and three inside the top-30. Rachel Kuehn, No. 7 after winning the Stephens Cup, has lived her best golf life in 2022, excelling on courses steeped in history and tradition.

 

In addition to her victory at Seminole, the Asheville native finished 12th in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, helped the U.S. to victory in the Curtis Cup at Merion, advanced to the round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay and represented her country in the World Amateur Team Championship in Paris.

 

This is her last competitive event of 2022. She’s looking forward to a break and the chance to be a regular student on the Wake campus, attend football games and recharge as the semester ends. She’s also grateful for the places golf has taken her this year.

 

“What Augusta is doing for women’s golf and putting some amateurs on the map, is incredible. It’s so cool, walking the fairways and seeing the fairways lined with girls because it’s something I never thought I’d have the chance to do,” said Kuehn, a three-time All-American.

 

“Merion was one of my favorite courses I’ve ever played. Seminole was incredible. The property is different to anything you’ve ever been on. You can see every hole from the putting green. It was so special, I’ve been so lucky.”   

 

She’s thrilled to return to the Dye course for her Landfall Tradition. That’s a sentiment shared among the players and coaches in this year’s field.

 

“Top-to-bottom this tournament is great,” Duke coach Brooks said. “Start with the people, everybody is so happy to see you here. Some of the staff has changed over the years but what’s consistent is everybody is incredibly welcoming. They get a great field and they know how to run tournaments.” 

 

Tee times are from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on Friday off the first and 10th tees at the Dye course. Spectators are welcome and admission is free. For more details on scoring and pairings, visit golfstat.com