LOS CABOS, MEXICO – Despite shooting even on the day at 284—a nine stroke improvement from the first round—the Duke men’s golf team finished eighth in a high-caliber Querencia Cabo Collegiate tournament.
With a total of 859 (+7), the Blue Devils were unable to keep pace with the champion Oklahoma State who shot an impressive 823 (-29).
Head Coach Jamie Green acknowledged the fact that his team did not have their best performance to conclude the tournament, but said that, “It wasn’t a bad day, we just didn’t really capitalize on scoring opportunities that other teams did. But a positive to take away was that, even if our guys weren’t comfortable throughout the tournament, it didn’t cost them because they managed to recover well.”
Freshman Chandler Eaton upheld his consistency from the first two rounds, rounding out the final day with a 69 (-2) to finish with a team-best 207. The Alpharetta, Ga. Native finished tied for seventh and was Duke’s low man of the day.
Green was impressed with Eaton’s continued composure, even after misplaying a ball that eventually set him up for possible trouble. “The fact that he made par on a ball he hit out of play was definitely a turning point for him and it settled him moving forward.”
Senior Alexander Matlari put together an even-par performance on Tuesday, bringing his total to 214 (+1) and landing him tied for 28th on the leaderboard.
Junior Jake Shuman fought to get under par for his final day of action, but was unable, finishing with a 74 (+3) for the round and a 218 (+5) total.
Sophomore Alex Smalley and junior Adam Wood both improved from their second day scores, as Smalley recorded a 72 (+1) after his 73 (+2), and Wood a 72 (+1) following yesterday’s 78 (+7). They would finish tied for 56th and tied for 68th, respectively.
Overall, Green was pleased with Duke’s opening performance of the spring while emphasizing the importance of recognizing that it’s early. “We have to take the good where we find it,” he said. “We handled things pretty well as far as adversity goes given that it’s our first tournament of the spring. To get in here in a tournament situation and have it mean something sometimes brings the nerves, but it will only get better.”
Moving forward, the head coach wants his players to focus on staying within themselves on the links. “In our next tournaments, the guys need to focus on finding their comfort zone,” Green said. “It’s good to have a tournament under the belt, guys can look back and see what worked, what didn’t work, and what they can improve on. When you’re in tournament competition, you have to know your go-to shots are there. If you’re good at knocking the ball down and keeping it low, know that you’ve got that. You have to make the best of tough situations by going to your go-to shots.”
Duke will return to action on Monday, March 13 for the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic in Chula Vista, Calif. Shortly following that, the Blue Devils will head to Phoenix, Ariz. for the Desert Shootout/GCU Invitational, slated for March 17-18.