Duke is going to have a long, long month off.

After imploding twice down the stretch near the end of the fall season, the Blue Devils slumped in the Sea Best Invitational for the entire tournament. 

The No. 23 Blue Devils were in 12th place out of 14 teams after 36 holes Monday and ended up in the same spot after another round Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass’ Dyes Valley course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. At 40-over-par, Duke finished better than just Winthrop and USC Upstate, ranked No. 181 and No. 237 at the end of last season, while South Florida took home the hardware at 6-under-par. 

“Not even in the right hemisphere of where we wanted to be,” Blue Devil head coach Jamie Green said. "The feeling is just being ticked off. Going in there with certain expectations and feeling ready and walking in with some confidence, and just not walking out with that same taste in your mouth. We’re just trying to connect the dots because the preparation the guys put in was preparation that they thought was right and ready.” 

Duke will have a long time to digest by far its worst outing this season—it won’t return to the links for a tournament until March. Outside of sophomore Chandler Eaton, who finished 4-over-par in his 54 holes, no one was able to place inside the top-40, leaving the Blue Devils 30 strokes behind the next-worst ranked team in the field. 

Duke took money out of its travel budget to fly down and practice at the course in January during a snowstorm in Durham, but never got comfortable on the 6,858-yard track. Despite poor weather for golf on campus, Green was quick to say he couldn’t blame the weather conditions at home for their play Monday and Tuesday. 

“South Florida is in a different climate and maybe helped them prepare and win the tournament, but Arkansas has had some darn cold weather and they trounced the golf course compared to what we did,” Green said. “We can’t sit there and make excuses for the weather in terms of preparation. That excuse can’t be used. I wish we could.”

The struggles started early and persisted throughout the tournament. No. 2 Evan Katz and No. 5 Adam Wood cratered with twin 78's in the first round on the par-70 track, putting Duke in a hole it would never recover from.

“There were some swing issues there,” Green said. “They missed some right and they missed some left, and there wasn’t any rhyme or reason for it. It’s not like they were trying to hit it left to right and they hit it too far right—sometimes it was just the opposite of what they expected. They were both hitting it in places where they just couldn’t score from.” 

Katz shot a second round 79 before recovering to shoot 4-over-par in the final round, but it was too little, too late. 

It never got better for Wood, who closed the tournament by combining to shoot 18-over-par in his final two rounds, finishing a distant 77th out of 80 individuals. He picked up triple and quadruple bogeys in the first two rounds, to boot. 

On the other hand, Eaton wasn't too far off from where he left off after a hot fall, finishing tied for 27th. The rest of Duke's lineup didn't do it any favors, though. 

After finishing tied for seventh as an individual in the UNCG/Grandover Collegiate to close the fall, freshman Adrien Pendaries started out hot with a 3-under-par 67, the best round by any Blue Devil in the tournament, but couldn't keep up the pace. 

The No. 4 player in head coach Jamie Green’s lineup collapsed in the final two rounds, combining to shoot 10-over-par, including a 5-over-par mark on his last 11 holes. 

Junior Alex Smalley, one of two upperclassmen in Green's lineup in the No. 1 slot, also started off on the right track, sitting at just 3-over-par after 36 holes. But he blew up on Tuesday, shooting 4-over-par on his final nine holes despite making two birdies during that span.

The Blue Devils will not see the course for tournament play until the Querencia Cabo Collegiate March 4-6 in Los Cabos, Mexico. Green said several players have mechanical issues and is giving them the weekend off, telling them to see their swing instructors if they have them. 

“I’m driving the team van back seven hours, so I get a lot of time to think about it,” Green said. “We’re considering all sorts of things in practice to make things more competitive. We’ve got to bridge that gap between how guys are practicing and how guys are playing in competition.”