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Despite downpour, Blue Devils remain in 5th

    OWINGS MILL, Md. — As two rounds of sunshine gave way to a day of torrential downpour, two days of solid Duke golf dissolved into a mess of bogeys. But the Blue Devils did enough to finish in 5th place and make the 54 hole cut.

    The final round of the NCAA Championship will be held Saturday at the par-70 Caves Valley Golf Club in Owing Mills, Md. Duke trails the leader Georgia by 22 strokes, but is within two shots of third place Southern California.

    Under pouring rain and wind that made the already-long course gargantuan, the team finished its round at 24-over par for a three-day total of 37-over par. Duke was led by freshman Michael Schachner, who started the round in a tie for fifth at 2-under. He started his third round with two straight bogeys, however, and could not recover, shooting a 77 that left him in a tie for 14th.

    ACC Player of the Year Ryan Blaum had his third consecutive round of par or higher, shooting six over. He did not record a birdie the entire day. His back nine consisted of six pars and three bogies, two of which came on the most difficult holes on the course.

    Junior Nathan Smith did not notch a birdie either. His day started comfortably, carding pars on the first seven holes. After Smith’s five-foot birdie putt lipped out on his seventh hole, he double-bogeyed his next hole and was nine-over for his final 11, finishing the day with a disappointing 79. On one par 4, Smith commented that he hit both his driver and 3 wood well and still had 78 yards to the pin, indicating the length of the wet course.

    Sophomore Jake Grodzinsky, who commented after the round that the course was playing like par was 74, had two early birdies and was 2-under par through six. On his seventh hole, however, Grodzinsky’s sand shot traveled over the green. His ensuing chip stopped within six feet, but he could not convert his bogey putt. Grodzinsky could not manage another birdie and carded six more bogies, ending the day at 76.

    Freshman Michael Quagliano has played the most consistent golf for Duke during the last two rounds. He also fired two early birdies, but made the turn at one over. Consecutive three-putts on his 11th and 12th holes cost the freshman three strokes and he finished the day at 4-over, Duke’s best score.

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