*NOTE: With the opening round of the tournament being delayed due to inclement weather this afternoon, team and individual rankings for the first day have yet to be finalized. Updates to the status of the championship can be found at ncaa.com.
SUGAR GROVE, ILL. – On a day broken up by inclement weather, Duke managed to successfully sneak in its opening round at the NCAA Championship before afternoon delays brought competition to a temporary halt on Friday.
Getting things started with a 6:45 a.m. tee time at Rich Harvest Farms (Par 72, 7,300 yards), the Blue Devils finished their day relatively early, shooting a 298 (+10) in the process.
Alex Smalley led the way on day one, carding an even-par 72 that was highlighted by an eagle on the 11th hole. Despite getting hit with a double bogey on No. 1 to start off the back nine and a pair of bogeys on the eighth and sixteenth hole, the sophomore handled with ease the rather tricky par 5s as he would go on to score under par on three of the four.
Senior Matt Oshrine finished tied for second for the Blue Devils on Friday, scoring a three-over-par 75 that featured a trio of birdies. Despite finding the red twice within his first three holes, the Baltimore, Md. native would tally a pair of bogeys on both the front and back nine, as well as a double bogey on No. 8.
Splitting second for Duke after the opening round was Chandler Eaton, also shooting a 75 (+3) for the day. Red was the first color Eaton saw on the scorecard, as he would snag a birdie on the 12th hole, his third hole of the morning. Unfortunately, after following that with two pars to keep him at one under, the freshman would record a double bogey on 15 and a triple bogey on 17. The back nine would see better results, however, as Eaton would start with back-to-back birdies. After a bogey on No. 3, he would finish out the day with straight pars.
Teammates Jake Shuman and Alexander Matlari both rounded out their performances at four-over-par after shooting a pair of 76s.
Shuman, who was the first Blue Devil to tee off on the day, snared three birdies, recording one on a par 3, 4 and 5, but was unable to overcome three bogeys and a pair of double bogeys that would be scattered throughout his round.
Matlari, like Shuman, garnered three birdies, but would also mirror his teammate in the form of three bogeys and a pair of double bogeys.
Head coach Jamie Green, although observant of how his team finished the day, was encouraged by the way they got things started, showing positive signs entering tomorrow. “You know, the guys got off to a really good start,” he said. “We were five under through the first few holes. For a little while there, it started to slip sideways, but they actually righted the ship. There are a few guys that played pretty well coming in with a few holes. So there's a slight bit of momentum. I always like to say momentum isn't anything more than attitude. It's a long tournament, a lot of things can happen.”
Live scoring will be available via golfstatresults.com, and Duke-specific updates will be provided through the official Duke Men's Golf Twitter account, @DukeMGOLF.