NEW LONDON, N.C. – With Sunday’s six-under 282, the Duke Blue Devils completed the 2018 ACC Championship with three consecutive under-par rounds, finishing with an overall score of 844 (-20) to place fifth.
Held at the Old North State Club (par 72, 7,102 yards), the field featured 12 teams, 11 of which concluded the event under par.
Georgia Tech secured the crown, ending with a 835 (-29) following a tight race down the stretch with Clemson, who finished second at 27-under.
The Blue Devils edged in-state foes No. 18 North Carolina, who finished tied for sixth, and North Carolina State, who finished eighth.
Alex Smalley was Duke’s low man for the tournament, shooting eight-under on the weekend for a T-12 result. The junior’s third round—a one-under 71—featured four birdies, including three on the back nine, where he also went bogeyless.
The result would end up being Smalley’s second top-20 finish of the season, adding to an already-impressive list of a top-10 finish and five top-5 finishes.
“Today was a little rough around the edges,” Smalley acknowledged. “Struggled quite a bit on the front 9 with trying to find fairways and greens. I was hitting it everywhere but was lucky enough to only make the turn at two-over. Made an adjustment with the driver on the back by watching my tempo at takeaway and that helped. Made a mid-range curling putt on 11 that got me back on track. Had another long putt that I made on 14 and had some other looks coming in that barely missed. All in all, it was another great week. I know we probably wanted to defend our title from last year a little better, but we still beat some good teams. Now we got our eyes set on Regionals and are going to prepare for that.”
Freshman Adrien Pendaries had quite the performance in his first-ever ACC Championship, cracking the top-20 (T-19) with a six-under effort.
Pendaries snared five birdies and one bogey en route to shooting a 68 (-4), the second consecutive day with that score.
“Today was a little bit of a strange day,” admitted Pendaries. “I think we started off slowly as a team, but then made a few birdies on the back nine to get back into the top five. Obviously we would have liked to have made a better run at the title...but I think it was a pretty positive week, all in all. I think we have plenty of talent on the team to contend in the next three years and hopefully [I can] be on it. I think we all have a little bit of work, including myself, but on to regionals and nationals hopefully with a little bit of improvement.”
Chandler Eaton rounded out his tournament just behind teammate Pendaries, finishing with a share of 21st after posting a four-under weekend.
Opening on 1 with a birdie, the sophomore recovered nicely on Sunday’s back nine after getting hit with a double on 4 and back-to-back bogeys on 6 and 7. The Alpharetta, Ga. native proceeded to make par six times with three birdies scattered throughout, concluding with an even-par day.
In his last-ever trip to Old North, senior Jake Shuman bowed out with a gutsy one-under third round. It resulted in Shuman’s second straight under-par day, and it would be a round that would see four of his eleven birdies from the weekend. Overall, Shuman would finish at one-over, tied for 33rd.
Freshman Evan Katz was unable to find red in the final round of his first weekend at New London, finding bogey three times to push his overall score to four-over.
Head coach Jamie Green addressed his program's performance following the conclusion of the tournament, mentioning a few of the encouraging takeaways he planned to take back to Durham.
“After yesterday’s round, these guys put Duke in a position to contend,” Green said. “We knew there was a bit of an uphill climb, and some might say we would have even needed a little help. We started out pretty well, guys made some putts and got some red numbers on the board. It was probably going to need to be one of those days where we had all five guys in it until the end…but I couldn’t be more proud of how the guys stuck to it.”
1. Georgia Tech (835, -29)
2. Clemson (837, -27)
3. Wake Forest (838, -26)
4. Virginia (840, -24)
5. Duke (844, -20)
T6. North Carolina (845, -19)
T6. Notre Dame (845, -19)
8. North Carolina State (846, -18)
9. Florida State (848, -16)
10. Boston College (856, -8)
11. Louisville (862, -2)
12. Virginia Tech (879, +15)
Leaderboard Through Final Round:
The Blue Devils will await word on a landing spot for the NCAA Regional, to be announced in May.
The regional sites will be:
Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Bryan, Texas (Traditions Club)
Columbus, Ohio (Scarlet Course/OSU Golf Course)
Kissimmee, Fla. (Reunion Resort)
Norman, Okla. (Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club)
Stockton, Calif. (The Reserve at Spanos Park)
All NCAA Regionals will take place from May 14-16.