For the second straight tournament, Duke was in the top three heading into the final round. 

And both times, the Blue Devils imploded down the stretch. 

After falling from third place to near the bottom at the Nike Collegiate Invitational Oct. 1-3, Duke posted the second-worst round by any team in the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate this weekend, a 8-over-par 296—no Blue Devil shot even par or better—and finished a distant 10th. After finishing 9-under par in his first two rounds, star sophomore Chandler Eaton posted a final-round 4-over-par 76 at his home course in Alpharetta, Ga., and No. 3 Oklahoma State walked away with the hardware. 

“To be the best team in the country, we have to continually work hard on the things we have control over,” Duke head coach Jamie Green told GoDuke.com.  “I think in a lot of cases, we did that well.... Regardless of what happened, how, or why it happened in the final round of the last two tournaments, we’ve got a strong team and we will get stronger.”

Against some of the top competition in the country that included four of the top five times, the unranked Blue Devils held their own through two days, using a 12-under-par 276—the second best round by any team in the tournament—in the second round to tie for second with Texas. Alex Smalley led the way with a 65 and found himself in the lead heading into Sunday after making eight birdies.

“It was a good day. I got off to a good start,” Smalley told GoDuke.com Saturday. “I played well in qualifying leading up to this week, so I knew I could play well. I haven’t put a whole lot of stress on myself. I think the reason my score was lower today than it was [in the first round] was because my approach shots were a little closer so I had better looks at birdie.”  

But after combining to shoot 12-under-par in his first two rounds, Smalley regressed along with the rest of his teammates in the final round, carding two bogies and a double bogey on his first 11 holes and finishing third overall. Texas' Doug Ghim captured the title, moving up from second place to capture the hardware with a final-round 67. 

Duke got out to an uneven first round Friday, with Smalley and Eaton shooting 5-under-par and 3-under par, respectively, but with Jake Shuman and Steven DiLisio shooting 75 and 76. Eaton ultimately finished in 12th, but no other Blue Devil aside from him and Smalley finished better than tied for 63rd. 

For the second straight week, Duke got top-heavy production—in the Nike Golf Collegiate Invite, Adam Wood finished tied for 10th, but everyone else finished an average of 47th. Wood could not recapture his form from Portland, fading down the stretch with consecutive 4-over-par 76's on the par-72, 7,017-yard track. 

“We’re a proud bunch, we know we have a lot of talent on this golf team,” Green told GoDuke.com. “And we’re going to continue to know that the talent isn’t just a physical talent. The talent is resiliency and hard work and regrouping. We are going to continue to work on those and make sure those are strengths.”