STILLWATER, Okla. – The Blue Devils’ bid for their first ever national championship fell one match short on Tuesday afternoon, dropping a 5-0 decision to the Crimson Tide of Alabama in the NCAA Semifinals at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. The semifinal appearance was the program’s second in its history, with the first coming in 2011 also at Karsten Creek.
The matchups featured back-and-forth action at the start, but as the afternoon progressed, Alabama pulled away, holding a steady advantage over Duke for the majority of remaining play.
Alabama’s Davis Shore jumped out to a significant lead over quarterfinal hero Jake Shuman, whose eagle putt on 18 against No. 1 world amateur Doug Ghim punched the Blue Devils’ ticket to the afternoon semifinal match.
Shuman’s teammates trailed in their respective matchups on average by two to three holes into the evening, unable to keep pace with Hodges, Riley and Hardee of Alabama.
Freshman Blue Devil Evan Katz battled Wilson Furr deep into the round until Furr reclaimed the lead for good, taking a 1-up lead on 14 and eventually taking the match at 2 up.
Duke vs. Alabama NCAA Match Play Individual Results
Hodges (Alabama) 3&2 over Eaton (Duke)
Riley (Alabama) 3&2 over Pendaries (Duke)
Furr (Alabama) 2&1 over Katz (Duke)
Shore (Alabama) 6&5 over Shuman (Duke)
Hardee (Alabama) 3&2 over Smalley (Duke)
Despite the loss, Duke was able to accomplish a great deal in its 2017-18 campaign.
The Blue Devils captured back-to-back tournament wins in April, would go on to finish fifth in a talent-packed ACC Championship field after shooting 20-under, and place second in the Raleigh NCAA Regional behind Texas, who they would go on to defeat in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
Their work would not be done with the regional, however, as the lineup would go on to set a Karsten Creek course record in their third round of stroke play after carding a 12-under 276 which would also prove to be a program low for 18 holes in NCAA Championship play.
Head coach Jamie Green shared his thoughts regarding this year’s Duke team following the tournament, addressing what impressed him most about this group.
“We’re not looking for respect,” Green said. “We show up, and we give it the best can and our guys did that this week. You earn respect, and they got it. I don’t think that many teams wanted to play Duke this week if I’m going to be honest with you. We had five guys that worked their tails off leading up to this event, plus Adam [Wood] and plus Ben [Silverman] coming in from out of town supporting. It was just such a tight knit crew that gave everything they could, everything they had.”
Green also commented on the appreciation he has for his trio of seniors, what they have meant to the program, and how they will impact Duke golf for years to come.
“We had three seniors here that, I think, and no disrespect to anybody else from all the years of great seniors, but I think those three guys changed our program. I think from the day that they got here, and the growth that our program had in various ways, I think their legacy is going to be stamped in some ways, and not just because we’re going to have another semifinal trophy or an ACC trophy, but because of the bonds they created that the young guys yearn for. I didn’t really get emotional until those guys got emotional. When those guys were choked up, that’s when I got choked up. Losing is losing, that’s a part of it. But feeling what you feel when you have a chance to do it with other people, that’s what means a lot.”