Duke’s Leona Maguire, ranked No. 1 among women amateurs, and reigning NCAA individual champion Emma Talley of Alabama highlight the lineup announced Feb. 19 for the fifth Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, scheduled for next month at Long Cove Club.
Duke, currently third in Golfweek’s college rankings, will take aim at a third consecutive team title March 4-6 against a field that features four other schools among the top 15 — No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Alabama and No. 13 Oklahoma State.
Host school South Carolina and Furman will represent the Palmetto State on Hilton Head Island. Completing the roster are another half-dozen of the Gamecocks’ SEC rivals — Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — plus ACC schools North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest.
“This has become a signature event on the women’s collegiate schedule,” tournament chair Rob Ryan said, “and the membership of Long Cove Club is thrilled to once again play host to these top collegiate teams.”
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Maguire won last year’s individual title at Long Cove, one of three victories during her freshman season. The Ireland native also won the ACC Championship and Duke’s NCAA regional, helping her claim the Annika Award as college golf’s top player.
Two months later, Maguire nearly won a Ladies European Tour event as an amateur, finishing one shot behind winner Beth Allen at the Ladies European Masters.
Talley outdueled both Maguire and Arkansas’ Gaby Lopez for the NCAA title, making birdie on her final hole for a one-shot triumph at Florida’s Concession Golf Club.
Two other returning All-Americans from last season are expected to tee it up at Long Cove — Duke’s Celine Boutier and LSU’s Caroline Nistrup.
Rucker again will start the event with a private concert at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, open to players, coaches, sponsors and Long Cove members.