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Courtesy: Todd Drexler
Blue Devils Open NCAA Championship Play Friday
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 05/24/2017
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DURHAM, N.C. – Participating in its 23rd NCAA Championship, Duke will be seeking its first title after coming off a second-place performance at the Baton Rouge NCAA Regional with a ten-over-par 874.

The championship will be held at Rich Harvest Farms (par 72, 7,300 yards) from May 26-31 in Sugar Grove, Ill. It will begin with three days of golf with 18 holes each day, featuring 30 teams and 6 individuals. Following the conclusion of play on Sunday, the field will be cut to 15 teams and nine individuals for Monday's stroke play. Tuesday will see eight teams hit the links for match play, as well as the crowning of the winning individual. Lastly, on Wednesday May 31, two teams will compete for the championship title with one round of match play.

Duke will open up on the 10th tee Friday at 6:45 a.m. (CT) along with Auburn and Ole Miss. Pepperdine, Arizona State and Florida State will start at 7:07 a.m. (CT) on the 1st tee. North Carolina, Alabama and Lipscomb are set to begin at 7:40 a.m. (CT) on No. 10, followed by Kennesaw State, Purdue and Jacksonville—the fifth and final team to advance from the Baton Rouge Regional—at 8:02 a.m. (CT) on No. 1. New Mexico, Iowa State and Penn State will tee off from the 10th at 8:35 a.m. (CT). Rounding out the morning will be three individuals slated to tee off from the first hole at 8:57 a.m. (CT).

The afternoon will be greeted by the University of Southern California, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt teeing off from No. 10 at 12:05 p.m. (CT). Shortly after that, Stanford, Baylor, and Louisiana State University begin their tournament on the first tee at 12:27 p.m. (CT). Illinois, Oregon and Kent State will begin at 1:00 p.m. (CT) on No. 10, followed by Texas, Clemson and the University of Nevada Las Vegas at 1:22 p.m. (CT) on No. 1. Oklahoma, Virginia and the University of Central Florida will be the final teams to tee off on Friday, as they will begin promptly at 1:55 p.m. (CT) on the 10th tee. Three individuals will round out the field at 2:17 p.m. (CT) on No. 1.

Duke head coach Jamie Green will send into action the same five Blue Devils that have not only represented the program throughout the postseason, but done it well, having secured the team's eighth ACC Championship in late April and a bid to this weekend's championship with a gritty performance in last week's regional.

Leading the way for Duke will be sophomore Alex Smalley, who maintained his team lead in the stroke average category (71.36) after shooting an even 216 in the Baton Rouge Regional to finish tied for third. Smalley's best finish this year came in the form of a second-place finish in the Grand Canyon Invitational in March, helping the team secure its second of three titles this season. Additionally, the Wake Forest, N.C. native has proven to be a staple in this year's lineup, having played in all 36 rounds of the 2016-2017 campaign thus far.

Chandler Eaton, who shared third with teammate Smalley at the conclusion of last week's regional, enters the NCAA Championship with an impressive 71.44 average to his name. The freshman also ranks second on the team with a 0.03 vs. par mark, low 18 score (65) and top five finishes (4). Having finished at even-par in both of his postseason tournaments thus far, Eaton will aim to prove his consistency yet again this weekend.

Senior Matt Oshrine will look to perform brilliantly in what will be his final opportunity to win a national championship. Despite carding a 224 (+8) in Baton Rouge, the Baltimore, Md. local has played well in the final stretch of the season, finishing as Duke's low man in the team's last regular season tournament—the Wolfpack Spring Open in Raleigh, N.C.—where he shot a 209 (-4). Following that, Oshrine helped Duke secure the ACC title thanks to a 215 (-1) effort in Clinton, S.C.

Another senior seeking Duke's first ever men's golf national championship trophy is Alexander Matlari, who shot a 226 (+10) in rather windy conditions last week. Nonetheless, Matlari managed to finish in the top half of an extremely talented regional field, rounding out the week tied for 35th. Matlari will open up action this weekend ranking third on the team with a 72.76 stroke average and 0.18 vs. par mark. Earlier this season, he highlighted his team's GCU Invitational win with a career-low and course record 63 (-8) round that propelled him to a fourth-place finish.

Serving as the only golfer on the team who has participated in the NCAA Championship, Jake Shuman enters this year's tournament with that experience and more. Like teammates Smalley and Eaton, Shuman has participated in all 36 rounds of golf for Duke this year, and will bring with him a 72.44 stroke average. The junior shares the team-lead for top-10 finishes (3), with his best finish coming in the form of a tie for first in the Inverness Intercollegiate last fall.

Serving as an alternate for Duke in Sugar Grove will be Adam Wood. The junior who hails from Zionsville, Ind. has played in nine tournaments this season and has a 72.58 stroke average to his name.

NCAA Men's Golf Championships Coverage

The Golf Channel will have coverage of the championship, with full listings below:

 Monday, 5/29 - Individual National Championship Final Round: 4-8pm

Tuesday, 5/30 - Team Match Play Quarterfinals: 11am-1:30pm

Tuesday, 5/30 - Team Match Play Semifinals: 4-8pm

Wednesday, 5/31 - Team Match Play Finals: 4-8pm

Notes

• Prior to this year, the Blue Devils have previously competed for a championship in 1939, 1940, 1941, 1947, 1948, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1990, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015. Their best finish came in 2011, where they finished tied for third at the Karsten Creek GC in Stillwater, Okla.

• Duke has finished in the top five of its last five tournaments, a run that began in mid-March with a GCU Invitational victory in Phoenix, Ariz.

• Having won their eighth ACC title in April, the Blue Devils secured their first conference championship since 2013 and helped contribute to Duke men's and women's sweep of the ACC Golf Championships.

• Sophomore Alex Smalley and freshman Chandler Eaton were among those named to this year's All-ACC Men's Golf Team.

• As of May 17, 2017, Alex Smalley was listed 69th on GolfWeek's official collegiate individual rankings. Chandler Eaton also cracked the top 100, placing 79th.

Matt Oshrine has been nominated for the Elite 90 award, an honor bestowed at the championship site to the athlete who has the highest GPA (sophomore, junior, and senior) from all teams represented.

• Head coach Jamie Green has led Duke to five NCAA Championship appearances and eight regional appearances in his nine seasons at Duke. Prior to coming to Duke, he had a highly successful five-and-a-half year tenure at Charlotte, where he led the 49ers to four NCAA Championship appearances. He led the program to a third-place finish in 2007 and an eighth-place finish in 2008. The 49ers were one of just nine teams to reach the NCAA finals in all three seasons from 2006 to 2008.

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