Paced by sophomores Nathan Smith and Ryan Blaum, the No. 26 men's golf team came in eighth place at the talent-filled Carpet Capital Collegiate Sunday in Rocky Face, Ga., 27 strokes behind champion and second-ranked Florida (853).
The Blue Devils were outscored by fellow ACC members No. 3 Clemson and No. 8 Georgia Tech, though Duke did shoot better than No. 15 Wake Forest and N.C. State.
Smith, who began the tournament Friday with a 78, was an impressive seven-under par on the final two days of competition, helping him to a 215 total for the weekend, good enough for a 12th-place individual tie. Smith finished just 12 shots behind individual champ Jason Hartwick of Texas. He is currently ranked 199th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Like Smith, Blaum, who was Duke's 2002 MVP and the ACC Rookie of the Year, struggled on day one with a 77, but fired a seven-under par 65 on day two, only to score a 75 Sunday for a 217 for 21st place. Blaum is 103rd in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
Duke senior Mike Castleforte--ranked 81st nationally--also came on strong during the final two rounds of the weekend, with rounds of 73 and 71, respectively, to wrap up play with a 222 and a 42nd-place finish.
Tom Lefebvre and Rob Beasley rounded out Duke's five-man scoring rotation, with Lefebvre scoring a 227 (63rd place) and Beasley a 232 (75th place).
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