SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Picture perfect weather was the backdrop for the second round of the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms on Saturday, as Duke concluded the evening with a four-over-par 292 to move their two-day total to 590 (+14).
The team jumped up the leaderboard three spots, finishing the day tied for 23rd.
Out in front for the Blue Devils was senior Matt Oshrine, playing in his final collegiate tournament. Under par for the majority of the round, the Baltimore, Md. local was able to record four birdies while holding out on bogeys until the 17th hole, where he would be hit with his first and only to finish with a 69 (-3). No. 17 would prove to be a difficult hole for the team during the afternoon, as they would garner four bogeys and a double bogey.
“I struck it really well,” Oshrine said, “and gave myself a ton of looks. I didn't really stress for anything all day."
Finishing second for Duke was Alex Smalley, as the sophomore would earn 10 straight pars to begin the day. He would then go on to tally his first birdie on No. 11, and followed that up with another on 13. After a rough stretch that included a double and two bogeys, the Wake Forest, N.C. native calmly knocked in a sixteen-footer on 18 for eagle to finish for par. His 72 (E) matched his first round score. Smalley, with an eagle each day, is the only Blue Devil to record one so far in the tournament.
“I started off the front nine very well,” said Smalley. “I played 11 really well, chipped it up to two feet, and made a tap-in birdie. Hit a good shot on 13, and made a good putt, got the confidence rolling after I saw it go in. I knew if I hit a good drive on 18, I could have a chance at eagle. Hit a six iron, and made the really long breaking putt. It was an up-and-down day, but if we can get the ball rolling tomorrow, we could see our name moving up that leaderboard.”
After an even-par front side that included a chip-in birdie on 4 and a bogey on 9, junior Jake Shuman notched back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12. However, three bogeys on that side saw him finish with a 73 (+1) on the day.
Freshman Chandler Eaton and senior Alex Matlari could not seem to get on track, battling through a rough afternoon to post scores of 78 (+6) and 80 (+8), respectively.
The Blue Devils will have an afternoon tee time on Sunday, hoping to make a strong run to place themselves in the top 15 and advance to Monday's final round.
Despite the fact that his team is not where he or they know they can be, head coach Jamie Green remained optimistic following today's round.
“It's really easy to think of today as a do-or-die type of round today,” noted Green, “like we have to have everything go our way, but the reality of it is is we just have enough talent on the team that when player by player go shoulder to shoulder and they just do the things that they do well and stay in the present, stay in the moment, enjoy the hole that they're on, that's when good things end up happening. They're excited for another round, and we're excited for the season not to be over past tomorrow.”
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.