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Crewse excels on golf course, finds time for studies

After dragging themselves through two morning classes and lunch, all on a few hours of sleep, the normal Duke student is ready for a nice long nap.

Senior Aaron Crewse would like to be this normal student, but before this happens he must put in his three to four hours at golf practice. After that he still has dinner and studying to do before he even dreams of getting to bed.

For Crewse this has been an everyday occurrence over his entire college career. When discussing other college golfers, one will often find college careers to be in the area of five to six years.

Of all the numbers Crewse has come across in his golfing career there is one which he is the proudest of -- four. That's the number of years it is going to take him to graduate.

"Getting done in four years was a major accomplishment," said Crewse.

During these four years Crewse has earned a lot of titles, but the one that means the most to him is the title of student-athlete. He does not get to take a lighter class load due to his long practice schedule and frequent out-of-town trips for matches. Instead he has had to arrange for many morning classes and has learned to look far ahead to avoid ending up with too much homework on the weekend of a tournament.

Rather than worry about the trouble of attempting to lead two different lives, both wanting to occupy all of his time, Crewse looks at what can be gained from these experiences. Not only do these weekend tournaments allow him to make valuable contacts for the future, he has found them to be some of the most enlightening periods of his Duke career.

"I challenge anyone to find a more practical course at Duke than travelling from Wednesday to Sunday, seven weeks in the semester, and coming home to the same amount of work as other students," Crewse said.

Crewse could have avoided this entire problem coming out of high school. Just as Duke is known as a "basketball school", there are many schools known for golfing.

An All-American golfer out of high school Crewse had his pick of schools ranging from a "golfing school" like an Arizona, to an Ivy League school where he would be allowed to concentrate solely on academics.

Crewse chose Duke because it offered both options, a quality education and a team that with some luck could be a top finisher in nationals.

"I don't need the limelight," Crewse said. "I came to school knowing that Duke was not a golfing powerhouse. I came to Duke because I knew the golf team was turning in a different direction."

Turning in the right direction is what the team has done since Crewse's arrival. Last year's team finished 10th in the NCAA finals, the best performance ever turned in by a Duke golf team.

At nationals and other prestigious tournaments Crewse gets the chance to look back on his decision of schools. Crewse often meets players he knew in high school that chose the golfing schools over the academic ones. This has allowed him to compare how far along he has progressed compared to others.

"I always try to judge my performance compared to theirs in golf," Crewse said. "Right now they are probably a little bit ahead of me."

These comparisons allow Crewse to realize in hindsight that he has made a good decision. Crewse did not always feel this way early in his college years. With pressure coming in from all sides Crewse began to doubt his ability in all areas. It was only recently that Crewse has refocused his life and prioritized what was important to him.

"The main thing that changed my life was when I accepted Christ following my junior year," Crewse said. "Up until that point everything that I did depended on what I did on the golf course. Jesus doesn't care what you shot that day, it's how you live your life as a person and not what you do on the golf course."

Averaging a 75 for a round of 18, Crewse finished seventh at the Northwestern Classic, helping his team to a second-place finish. His improvement in the first part of the season may help push both him and the team to many more top-10 finishes.

"I was very pleased with the effort Crewse gave us in the fall, and the pattern that I started to see emerging from him," Duke head coach Rod Myers said. "We saw better scores and we saw more consistency. I really think that Aaron is going to get nothing but better and I would be very surprised if he didn't have an outstanding senior year."

This consistency is what Duke lacked as a team last year. Many times, Duke would have two scores under par, one near par, but their final score would be up in the 80s. A consistent score by Crewse will help keep the team's score stable.

"Crewse was real consistent from round to round this fall," said junior teammate Raleigh Shoemaker. "No matter how he's playing, as in how he is hitting the ball, he's going to have a good game. He's got the mentality that he's going to shoot a good score."

Concentration will be important for Crewse next year as he makes an attempt to go professional. Such a move is never easy and bringing his game up to the next level will take a considerable amount of time. Crewse knows that it often takes players seven to eight years to establish themselves on the professional tour, but he is willing to give himself some time.

"After three to five years, I'll look to see if I'm improving or if I have a chance and I'll re-evaluate my options," Crewse said.

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