The Blue Devils could not have come any closer to upsetting No. 1 seed Florida in the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship in Ft. Worth, Texas Sunday afternoon.
No. 20 Duke, the nine-seed in the tournament, lost to the No. 2 Gators in a tiebreaker after winning two matches by a total of five holes, losing two by a combined six and halving the other.
Freshman Jeff Edelman, making his first collegiate appearance, had a six-foot birdie putt on the second hole to go 4-up and close out the match with only three holes remaining.
He missed the putt, halved the hole and lost his final three holes to halve his match.
"[Edelman] made an unbelievable up-and-down and if he makes anything, the match is over," head coach Rod Myers said. "On the final green he three-putted-if he just ties one hole, we get the full point."
The coaching staff substituted Edelman into the Duke line-up for the afternoon's second round after Jake Grodzinsky was the only Blue Devil to lose his match in the morning's pairing against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in the first round.
Junior Michael Schachner, who won his match 1-up against Florida's Tyson Alexander, also had opportunities to advance Duke to the next round, but he, too, missed deciding putts.
"If either of those guys has a different hole, then the next tiebreaker goes to us," Myers said. "That's the fun part about match play, but it's also the most frustrating part."
Had the Blue Devils also won their matches by a combined six strokes, they would have advanced to the next round because they would have built their lead in fewer holes than Florida.
Beating the No. 1 seed would have been great for the team, but Sunday was an important day despite the loss, particularly in giving new players like Edelman a chance to compete, Myers said.
Duke will play No. 6 Clemson in today's consolation bracket matchup. Grodzinsky will return to the lineup and freshman Adam Long is scheduled to sit out the round.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.