DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men's golf team earned a bid to the Raleigh NCAA Regional earlier this month, securing its 24th trip to the NCAA regional tournament in program history.
The regional will be hosted by NC State at Lonnie Poole Golf Course, slated to take place from Monday, May 14 to Wednesday, May 16.
Also making their way to Raleigh will be Georgia Tech, California, Texas, Arizona State, N.C. State, Liberty, Missouri, Santa Clara, Campbell, Middle Tennessee State, Augusta, Davidson and Iona, seeded respectively, with Duke holding down the fifth seed.
The field at the NCAA Championship (Karsten Creek Golf Club, Stillwater, Okla.) will be made up of the top-five-finishing teams at each regional site.
The Blue Devils will be seeking their second regional title, their first since 2011 when they were crowned champions of the Radford, Va. Regional. Overall, Duke has placed in the top five a total of seven times in program history.
Last season's Baton Rouge NCAA Regional had the Blue Devils finishing second to host LSU, shooting a 10-over 874 on a challenging University Club course.
Duke has also seen great success this season and especially as of late, finishing no lower than fifth dating back to February. In that span, the Blue Devils captured back-to-back tournament wins at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate in Normal, Ill. and the Stitch Intercollegiate in Cary, N.C. to round out the regular season.
Duke is most recently coming off a fifth-place finish at the ACC Championship, an effort that was much stronger than the leaderboard might have eluded to.
Three consecutive rounds of under-par play—including a 12-under second round that proved to be the best team performance of the day—gave the Blue Devils an 844 (-20) for the tournament and left them feeling decidedly confident heading into the remainder of the postseason.
Alex Smalley led the way for Duke, shooting an eight-under 208 (70-67-71) that resulted in a T-12th finish.
The junior will enter the NCAA Regional leading the team in stroke average, a category he has led for most of the season (including the entirety of April).
Head coach Jamie Green, who will be leading Duke into its ninth regional in ten years at the helm, shared his thoughts regarding the upcoming tournament.
“Most any team who has played well enough throughout the year to earn a spot in the NCAA Regional Championship is thrilled to be in the field and, if they had their choice, they’d try to play as close to home as possible,” Green said. “We’re very fortunate that things worked out the way that they did. It’s great to be able to play close to home. It’s also nice to be able to have Duke family come out and support us, and I hope that they will. Ultimately, you still have to play the game. It’s like I’ve always said, when you start the regional championship it is the national championship and everyone is tied for first place. What you do on every shot matters.”
Live scoring for the tournament will be available via golfstatresults.com