Although they entered feeling confident about the opportunities provided by the golf course, the Blue Devils never got into a rhythm.
Duke finished 10th at the ACC Championship at Old North State Club in New London, N.C. The Blue Devils carded 20-over-par for the three-day, 54-hole event, and never contended. No. 5 Georgia Tech won the championship, shooting 25-under-par to match the total last year’s Duke squad put up in the same event en route to victory.
Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans easily took home the individual title, finishing with a three-day total of 12-under-par 204 to win by five strokes. The Blue Devils were unable to match their opponents’ firepower, carding just four under-par rounds as a team throughout the weekend. Duke’s best finish came from senior Austin Cody, who finished tied for 28th at three-over-par.
"There were periods of growth throughout the year and in this tournament," Green said. "I know the place finish wasn't what we were looking for. We had a couple [of] under-par rounds on the first day and again today but unfortunately we just couldn't cap it off with four solid enough rounds. We had too many mid to high rounds this year which moved us back in the pack.”
Duke shot five-over-par to tie for seventh after the first round led by Cody and sophomore Motin Yeung—who both fired under-par rounds—but struggled mightily on day two. The Blue Devils carded 13-over-par 301 in the second round, plummeting to the cellar of the leaderboard.
Duke avoided a last place finish Sunday by getting under-par rounds from freshman Max Greyserman and junior Turner Southey-Gordon, narrowly beating Maryland and Boston College by shooting a two-over-par 290.
One of the Blue Devils’ rare good moments of the week and the season came when Cody—a contributor on last season’s ACC championship team—birdied the final hole of his collegiate career Sunday.
"There are very few golfers that have committed more time to the sport than [Cody]," Green said. "It was nice to see him finish his college career with a birdie on the last hole. Right down to the last few shots he hit, he was going to do his best to help the team."
Although Duke has very little to be happy with after starting the season ranked in the top 20, the Blue Devils understand the importance of remaining patient and continuing to work hard at their intricate craft.
Green hopes that the growing pains suffered by his team this season will pay dividends in the future, with every player but Cody returning next year and seeking redemption.
“We are excited about our returning players next year,” Green said. “They will be seasoned veterans that understand the level of work ethic and practice time it takes to sharpen what has to be improved."