SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – The 2016-2017 campaign came to a close for Duke Sunday evening, as the team moved up two spots to finish their final round of the NCAA Championship tied for 22nd.
Needing to make it inside the top 15 of the field, the Blue Devils fell short by 17 strokes.
Senior Matt Oshrine capped off his Duke career with a birdie on his final hole to notch a one-over-par 73 for the day. The Baltimore, Md. native also finished one over for the tournament, leading the Blue Devil lineup in his final outing.
“We had an awesome year, a really deep team," noted Oshrine. "It was fun to be a part of. We played really well with a lot of combinations and hit a groove late in the year by winning ACCs which was one of the most fun things I've ever been a part of. One of my goals coming into college was to play in a national championship, and I got to do that which was great.”
Freshman Chandler Eaton rode an up-and-down day, also closing with a birdie on the 18th hole to finish with a one-over round of 73. His front nine went without a birdie, but the Alpharetta, Ga. local snagged three after making the turn.
“Coming into Duke, I just wanted to make the lineup,” Eaton said. “I ended up having a great year, and I learned a ton. I got tough, my putting improved, and I worked on a few things. I'm excited for the next three years. I think the biggest thing to take away was that we had this goal to be here, and the goal to win the ACCs, and the goal to get to regionals, and we accomplished them all.”
Senior Alexander Matlari finished off his four-year career with a four-over-par 76. He managed to tally birdies on the 7th and 14th holes, but bogeys would get the best of him, as the veteran would be hit with four total on the day.
“The spring was incredible, and it's something that's going to make us proud for the future,” observed Matlari. “We've come a really long way especially for me now that I'm done. The progress we've made over the four years has been remarkable. I'm just really proud that I was a part of this.”
Jake Shuman rallied from a rough start on the day to snare birdies on 17 and 18 to close with a 76 (+4). Despite opening up with three bogeys and a double, the junior showed great poise to close out the back nine. He was the only Blue Devil in the lineup with NCAA Championship experience entering the weekend.
“It was a pretty good year,” Shuman said. “The team made a lot of big strides. I'm really happy with what the team did and what we accomplished along the way. It's unfortunate that the season ends today, but it is what it is. We're walking away with rings, we're ACC Champions this year and if you would have told us that at the beginning of the year, we would have taken it.”
Sophomore Alex Smalley was unable to keep pace with his previous even-par rounds, hitting a rough stretch on his final nine holes to conclude with a five-over-par 77.
“A lot to take away from the spring,” said Smalley. “I know I can play with everyone out here. I'm just looking forward to coming back in August and getting back to the grind. I'm also looking forward to summer golf, it's going to be a busy summer.”
Head coach Jamie Green recapped the season with an underlined sense of optimism as well as pride in all his team was able to achieve.
“It's disappointing; I know the guys would have loved to play more golf this week,” Green said. “I hope they'll let that sting go away quickly and remember the things they accomplished this year. You know? Getting here when 270 some-odd teams didn't make it. We wanted to end our season on the 18th green here at Sugar Grove at Rich Harvest Farms and they did just that. And that's because of a lot of really good play throughout the spring. There's a lot to feel good about.”