DURHAM, N.C. – In one of the more talented fields in recent tournament history, Duke put together the low round of the final day, a fourteen-under 274 that featured three Blue Devils placing in the top 10.
Finishing seven strokes behind champion Wake Forest who set a tournament record with their 835 (-29) stroke total, Duke managed to jump two spots from the conclusion of yesterday’s action that saw them finish fourth while also edging No. 3 ranked Vanderbilt and No. 8 ranked Oregon on the last day of play.
Finishing out his tournament as Duke’s low man was sophomore Chandler Eaton, who shot a 69 (-3) to push his score to nine under. The Alpharetta, Ga. native had four birdies on the front nine, and managed to add another on the back. With the effort, Eaton finished third.
"Being No. 1 in the lineup, not that that really matters on a team, but there's certainly a lot of expectations to go and play well," said Eaton, “and I was proud of myself to be able to play well.”
The No. 2 performer for Duke was junior Alex Smalley, whose impressive 66 (-6) led him to finish at eight under for the tournament. Putting together a bogeyless finale, Smalley garnered six birdies en route to finishing with a share of fourth.
“Finished off the tournament with a good round today, played pretty well,” Smalley said. “Had a couple bad drives, but got a few good breaks, took advantage of them, and ended up with a good day.”
Continuing his consistent play in the Rod Myers Invitational since becoming a Blue Devil, senior Jake Shuman shined on Sunday, scoring a four-under 68 to place himself at seven under for the weekend and tied for eighth on the leaderboard. A bogeyless front nine was capped with an eagle on No. 9, and a lone bogey on the back was outnumbered by a pair of birdies for the Needham, Mass. local.
“I didn’t want to put a number in my head,” said Shuman, “just because you don’t know what other people are going to do and can’t control that. The only mindset today was to give myself 18 looks at birdie, and if a third of those fall, it’s going to be a good day.”
Senior Adam Wood finished fourth for Duke’s five-man lineup, recording a 71 (-1) on Sunday and improving his score to four over par. Wood had three birdies to his two bogeys, his second consecutive round with a trio of birdies. With his concluding round, he would place tied for 29th for the event.
Rounding out the fifth spot for the Blue Devils was sophomore Harrison Taee, who was making his five-man lineup debut. Taee shot a 75 (+3) on Sunday, pushing his score to six over par for the tournament. He would finish tied for 37th.
For the individuals, Duke newcomer Evan Katz led the way with his four under par debut. Sunday’s round saw a 69 (-3) effort which was good enough to land him with a share of 12th on the leaderboard.
The other Blue Devil freshman playing in his first collegiate tournament, Adrien Pendaries, concluded his weekend at one under. Even with shooting a 75 (+3) in his final round, he managed to crack the top 20, finishing with a share of 18th.
Shrish Dwivedi rounded up his weekend action with a 78 (+6), moving his total score to 26 over par.
Head coach Jamie Green discussed his team’s performance and what it was like being able to watch his program perform well at its home course.
“You have a gameplan in mind,” he said, “and the key obviously is being able to execute that gameplan when it’s under the gun, when it matters, when the score is going to be posted, when there are other teams out there, when there are fans out there, family and emotions. That’s what’s thrilling for me to watch, and I hope these guys feel good about is that the preparation turned into something really really positive with today’s score. I don’t know all our record books, but there aren’t a ton of 14-under par times that Duke has shot rounds like that for 18 holes.”
The team’s next tournament will be on October 1 at the Nike Collegiate Invitational in Portland, OR.