After a slow start to Duke’s spring season due to a trove of injuries, illnesses and close calls atop the leaderboard, the team arrived in Sugar Grove, Ill., in seemingly great shape, having won the ACC championship a month earlier and finished second in a difficult NCAA regional just a week ago.

But the end to the Blue Devils’ spring was even more unusual than its beginning, as the perennial powerhouse opened the NCAA championship with a historically poor round en route to an early exit from college golf’s biggest stage.

Duke’s season came to a close Monday at Rich Harvest Farms, as the team posted a 54-hole total of 70-over-par, placing the team in 18th place and 15 shots out of the top-eight cutoff the team needed to advance to Tuesday’s match-play bracket. During Friday’s rainy and windy opening round, the No. 7 Blue Devils posted their worst score in an NCAA Championship since 1983—a 37-over-par score of 325—and could never significantly improve their standing after finishing 18 holes tied for 19th. The team failed to qualify for the event’s match-play portion for the first time since the format was added to the championship in 2015.

"I would have liked to see better scores. We really did not play well in this tournament," head coach Dan Brooks told "It feels like you got beat up out there because the conditions were very, very tough, but had the conditions been much easier, we still would not have gone to match play. We didn't play well enough."

The tournament’s stroke-play portion was originally scheduled to be 72 holes and feature a top-15-team cutoff after 54 holes, but mother nature got in the way of Duke having a final opportunity to surge up the leaderboard. Saturday’s round was cancelled after a three-hour rain delay, and the top-eight cutoff previously scheduled to be applied after four rounds was instead applied after just three.

Leona Maguire—who has spearheaded the Blue Devils all season—was the lone bright spot for her team, leading the squad in both pars and birdies to tie for second overall in the 132-player event. The junior’s three-day total of 2-over-par was 21 shots better than any teammate, and Maguire was also the only Duke golfer to post an under-par round on the par-72 track by carding a 71 Sunday and 70 Monday. Maguire’s finish marks the second time in the last three years that she has finished as the runner-up in the NCAA championship.

Monica Vaughn, a senior at Arizona State, ultimately bested Maguire and Wake Forest sophomore Jenifer Kupcho, both at 2-over-par, by shooting a final round 71 to win the individual championship by a one-stroke margin.

“It was quite windy out there and quite gusty at parts, but the big thing today was to shoot an under-par round, try and post a number for the girls to go after in the afternoon,” Maguire told the Golf Channel. “I’m happy with my round.”

In stark contrast with last year’s record-breaking 16-under-par effort that brought her an individual national championship, sophomore Virginia Elena Carta posted the worst finish of her career after failing to break 80 during the first two rounds. The Udine, Italy, native was on her way to posting yet another high number Monday after shooting 41 on her first nine holes, but settled down after the turn and carded one birdie and eight pars on her closing nine to shoot 76 and tie for 95th.

Sandy Choi joined Carta in a tie for 95th after opening the championship with her worst colliegate score ever—a 15-over-par 87 that included 13 bogies or worse. The senior improved during the final two rounds—carding only 10 bogies or worse during her last 36 holes to shoot a pair of 77s—but the championship marks a sour end to what has otherwise been a stellar and consistent career highlighted by a 2014 national championship and several strong performances in NCAA regionals.

"It was an awful lot of golf course for Sandy because she doesn't hit it very far, and the wind was just blowing like crazy," Brooks said. "Her 77 was probably a 67 under normal conditions."

Ana Belac earned the second-best result of any Duke player by improving her score every day of the event, shooting 83, 79 and 77. During Monday’s round, Belac carded her first career eagle by holing a chip shot from off the green on the par-5 18th hole, the freshman’s ninth hole of the day, and went on to par seven of her final nine holes to tie for 89th place.

Lisa Maguire rounded out head coach Dan Brooks’ lineup with a trio of 82's on the 6,343-yard course. The Cavan, Ireland, native carded the team’s lone birdie during the opening day but was marred by double bogeys throughout the event, carding at least two each day.

The tournament will continue in the next two days with the eight remaining teams going head-to-head in a single-elimination match-play bracket, with the championship match set for Wednesday afternoon. Remaining teams include No. 11 Northwestern—which won the stroke-play portion of the event—No. 1 Arizona State, No. 3 Stanford and No. 5 Florida.

The Blue Devils will have a much anticipated opportunity to redeem themselves next season with three top recruits joining the team: Jaravee Boonchant, Miranda Wang and current fourth-ranked amateur Hannah O’Sullivan. With only Choi leaving the team after this season, the three will arrive in Durham to fill out a roster that already includes one of the best amateurs in the world in Leona Maguire and an individual national champion in Carta, creating another chance for Duke to make a deep postseason run and be a serious contender for a seventh national championship.

"We played three rounds of golf here. You've got to go through them all and figure out where you need to get stronger," Brooks said. "I asked the team to be very different at this time next year, to be ready to take on anything at this time next year. We have a year to reflect and prepare and get ready to do a better job."