The Blue Devils continued their winning ways in the month of April with a victory at the Stitch Intercollegiate tournament Sunday. 

Heading into next week’s ACC tournament, Duke is peaking at the right time. Significantly besting its previous season-best of 22-under-par, Duke finished 36-under-par on its way to knocking off conference opponents Wake Forest and N.C. State at MacGregor Downs in Cary, N.C. The ACC teams swept the top three spots in the 12-team field.

“From what I’ve heard last year the team started playing their best leading into ACCs and they got it done there,” said the Blue Devils' second-highest finisher, freshman Evan Katz. “The sentiment on the team is the same thing is happening this year, so we are feeling pretty good.”

Duke seems to have finally buried its habit of poor finishes that plagued the team early in the season. It found itself in fourth following the first round before shooting the best second round of any team and claiming the lead on Saturday. The Blue Devils finished strong with a 14-under-par round Sunday, second only to Wake Forest’s 19-under, and had all their scorers under par on both Saturday and Sunday. 

“It’s not like we went out and had a different meal, it’s not like we prepared our warmup differently,” head coach Jamie Green said. “It doesn’t matter if its round one or round three, the goal is to go through your process the same. The day that you’re playing doesn’t matter. What matters is what you’re bringing to the table in that moment when you hit that shot.”

Following the theme of success in April, Alex Smalley, riding three consecutive top-15 finishes into Friday, finished at 10-under-par in a tie for second place. After a 73 opening round, Smalley came back with a 65 Saturday and a 68 Sunday to net his best finish of the season to date. 

Katz snagged two eagles in his final round Sunday and secured a tie for fifth place and a tie for the most eagles on the weekend with three total. 

“I had a rough start but hung in there and knew something good was going to happen eventually, and it kind of happened at a perfect time,” Katz said. “That was the first time I was in the starting five for a win. Winning individually is awesome, but winning as a team is even better.”

Katz’s second-round score of 67 was the second-lowest by a Duke player all weekend and helped him finish at 9-under-par despite a trio of bogeys Sunday morning. 

“When he has a not-so-great day, it’s still a contributing day,” Green said. “To finish eagle-then-birdie when it started to get tight with Wake—I think that shows a lot about where his abilities are.”

Fellow freshman Adrien Pendaries also eagled the 17th hole Sunday on his way to a 3-under-par last round and a tie for eighth place and shot 208 total, seven strokes better than his prior season best of 215. 

Senior Jake Shuman also seems to be hitting his stride late in the season. He tied for 11th and rounded out the quartet of Blue Devils in the top 15. Shuman served as an example of finishing strong with a 68 in the final round, his best round this season. 

Chandler Eaton shot a 69 Saturday and a 71 Sunday to help offset his 76 in the first round and earn him a share of 23rd overall. 

Duke will travel to New London, N.C., Friday morning for the first round of the ACC tournament at Old North State Club. The Blue Devils have some fond memories of the last time the ACC title was decided on that course.

“Old North State is the course that Duke won the championship on in 2013, so we’d like to make that statement again,” Green said.