ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- The No. 2 Duke men’s golf team had three players finish in the top 20 on its way to a sixth-place finish at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational that concluded Sunday in Alpharetta, Ga.
Senior Alex Smalley was the leading Blue Devil, carding an even-par 72 on Sunday and finishing in sole possession of fifth place at seven-under par. It marks the senior’s third consecutive top-five finish and the 15th top-five of his career.
"I played pretty well this week, said Smalley. "But I think all of us are leaving with a sour taste in our mouths. We know we could have played better but it was just one of those weeks where things weren't completely synced up for anyone. I was able to take advantage of the par-5s, and had a lot of putts just burn the edge. We know what we can work on this week to get ready for the East Lake Cup next week. Everyone is resilient so we are gonna put this behind us and come out ready to rock and roll next week."
A stacked field converged on the Golf Club of Georgia outside Atlanta, with four of the 14 teams rated among Golfstat’s top-10 and seven of the 14 rated in the top 15. The Blue Devils posted a two-over par 290 as a team on Sunday, and their 54-hole total of six-under 858 was good for sixth.
No. 10 USC took the team title at 22-under, while the Trojans Justin Suh (-14) was the individual medalist by four strokes. The balance of the top-six included No. 15 Clemson (-21), No. 3 Georgia Tech (-19), No. 11 Wake Forest (-16), No. 5 Alabama (-15) and No. 2 Duke (-6).
Sophomore Evan Katz was the low Blue Devil on Sunday with his one-under 71, which included an eagle on the 353-yard par-four 8th hole. His 54-hole total of 221 was good for 45th.
Alpharetta native Chandler Eaton, playing on his high school’s home track, finished birdie-birdie on Sunday to post an even-par 72. His total of three-under 213 was good for a tie for 15th – his 15th career top-20 finish. Of the junior’s 12 rounds this season, 10 have been played at even par or better.
Duke’s third player in the top 20 was sophomore Adrien Pendaries, who bounced back from a rocky front-nine to birdie four holes on the back and post a 75. His 54-hole total of one-under 215 was tied for 19th – his third top-20 in four events this season. Junior Steven DiLisio was tied for 72nd with a 235.
The Blue Devils will split their squad next weekend, with action at the Grandover Collegiate in Greensboro beginning Friday and the prestigious East Lake Cup in Atlanta beginning on Sunday.