ATLANTA, Ga. -- Duke’s senior stepped up in the anchor match at the East Lake Cup as Shrish Dwivedi drained a nine-foot birdie putt on the 18th to close out his match 2-up and clinch a victory for No. 3 Duke over No. 1 Oklahoma State, 3-2, Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club.
The win for the Blue Devils came in the consolation match of the 2018 East Lake Cup, which brought together the four semifinalists from last season’s NCAA Golf Championship. The Cowboys were the reigning champions.
“Obviously yesterday was a little bit of a letdown,” said head coach Jamie Green, whose team fell to No. 14 Auburn in Tuesday’s semifinals. “All four teams come here wanting to be in that championship match, but in a silver lining, we drew Oklahoma State in the consolation, and you want to be able to play the best. Right now they’re the No. 1 team for a reason. They won the national championship and they have great players. Our guys were thrilled for that opportunity to play them, and do it at a place like this. This is a championship golf course. It was a really good experience and our guys had a blast and I’m thrilled for them to bounce back from yesterday."
Sophomore Adrien Pendaries, who closed out his match early in yesterday’s semifinals against Auburn 7 & 6, caught fire near the turn Wednesday against the Cowboys’ Matthew Wolff, the nation’s No. 2-ranked player. Pendaries was 1-down through six, but won the 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th to pull away for a 4 & 3 win. The sophomore, who played 27 holes of match play this week at nine-under par, is now 3-1 in match play in his career.
Oklahoma State would claim the next two points as Hayden Wood defeated sophomore Evan Katz 5 & 4 and No. 1-ranked Viktor Hovland, boosted by a hole-in-one on the 11th, won the lead-off match over senior No. 8-ranked Alex Smalley, 2 & 1. Smalley played 2-under on his ball, but fell 3-down with Hovland’s ace before winning the 12th and 16th to stay alive.
Sophomore Chandler Eaton, the 11th-ranked player nationally, put the Blue Devils on even terms again as he closed out Austin Eckroat with a 3 & 2 victory to set the stage for Dwivedi’s drama down the stretch at the course that saw Tiger Woods win his 80th career event at the Tour Championship in October.
The senior from Redwood, Calif., Dwivedi jumped out to a quick 3-up lead over Zach Bauchou, only to see Bauchou rally and win the final three holes on the front to pull even at the turn. The Cowboy won his fourth consecutive hole with a par on the 10th, but Dwivedi did not back down.
“It was interesting because I was up early in the match and Zach fought back,” said Dwivedi. “He actually got it to 1-up through 11. I was just trying to think back to my first few holes where I was hitting it well. Coach (Bob) Heintz, our assistant coach, just came up to me and told me to make sure every swing coming in was aggressive. Thankfully things started to turn my way, and it came down to 18 and I was fortunate enough to make the putt.”
In the fairway bunker on the par-4 12th, Dwivedi knocked an iron on to the green and was back to all square after making a clutch six-footer for par. He won the 13th with a par to go back in front and jarred a birdie putt on the par-5 14th to lead by two with four to play.
With Dwivedi in the water on the tough, par-3 15th, Bauchou got one back with a par, but Duke’s senior parred the next two holes to maintain his edge, and drained his birdie putt on the 18th as he got up and down from the rough left of the green and give Duke the team victory.
The East Lake Cup brings Duke’s strong fall to a close. It was a three-month stretch that saw the Blue Devils go 50-6 versus teams in stroke-play events, including two tournament wins and the stroke-play victory Monday at East Lake. Duke defeated 14 teams ranked in the Top 25 this fall, including the current No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 USC, No. 7 Vanderbilt and No. 8 Wake Forest.
Duke is off until the John Burns Collegiate, Feb. 21-23, in Lihue, Hawaii.