DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s golf team will look to continue a strong spring season April 24-26 at Old North State Club in New London, N.C., at the 2015 ACC Championship. The Blue Devils have won a pair of tournaments this spring and have been playing their best golf of the year over the past four events.
Head coach Jamie Green’s crew collected wins at the Bandon Dunes Championship (March 13-14) and the Blue Devil Spring Shootout (March 21) to go along with a fourth place finish at the Yale Spring Invitational last weekend. Duke has posted a 285.8 stroke average per round over the past four tournaments and has been under-par in six of the past nine rounds of golf.
“We’re excited to take the five that we’ve got,” said Green. “We went to Yale with seven players, and we’ve felt that this spring there has been really good competition throughout the team. Guys have gotten better and shot lower scores. Any time you have somebody from behind pushing you, there’s just that much more motivation to do what guys need to do individually to get themselves even better and into scoring position. That’s been the really high point this spring. Guys have really used their time wisely to get ready, and I feel great about these guys.”
The Blue Devil lineup for the 2015 ACC Championship will be comprised of freshmen Adam Wood and Jake Shuman, seniors Michael Ricaurte and Turner Southey-Gordon along with sophomore Alexander Matlari. All five players were in action last weekend at the Yale Spring Invitational with Matlari (8th) and Wood (T-9th) finishing in the top 10 and Shuman placing tied for 12th. Ricaurte and Southey-Gordon were just outside the top 20, finishing tied for 21st.
“It is always really good experience to play against the best competition and that is what we have done,” said Wood. “We can build and learn off that experience and it also does a lot for our confidence. Coming off a difficult fall season it was especially important for us to get off to a good start in the spring and we have done that. The guys are feeling good about where their games are at and we are confident heading into the ACC Championship.”
Duke opens up play Friday beginning at 9:30 a.m. on No. 1 at Old North State Club. The Blue Devils are paired with Louisville and Virginia Tech for the opening round.
“We’ve got two seniors going - Turner (Southey-Gordon) has played there before, and Mike (Ricaurte) has certainly seen the golf course by coming out and supporting his team play,” added Green. “We have that senior leadership factor and two freshmen in the lineup who have played best for us all year in Adam (Wood) and Jake (Shuman), in terms of consistency. And also Alex Matlari. From a few rounds in the fall that he struggled, he’s really worked his tail off this spring and improved all areas. I feel great about our lineup going in there.”
The Duke Lineup
· Adam Wood (Fr. - Zionsville, Ind.) - Leads the Blue Devils in stroke average (73.0), under-par rounds (7), rounds in the 60s (3), even-par or better rounds (10), top 20 finishes (6), sub-par strokes per round (3.19), greens in regulation (.663) and rounds counted (23) ... shares the team lead in top 10 finishes (3) and rounds played (26) ... top finish was a tie for seventh at the John Hayt Invitational ... also had top 10 finishes at the Invitational at the Ocean Course (T-8th) and Yale Spring Invitational (T-9th) ... tied for third in the Duke freshman record book with six top 20 finishes ... tied for fourth among Blue Devil freshmen with three top 10s ... 71.0 stroke average over his past six rounds of golf ... coming off a tie for ninth at the Yale Spring Invitational.
· Jake Shuman (Fr. - Needham, Mass.) - Second on the team with a 73.8 stroke average, six under-par rounds and eight rounds of even-par or better golf ... shares the team lead with 10 tournaments and 26 rounds played ... has three top 20 finishes, including a tie for fourth at the Blue Devil Spring Shootout ... also finished in the top 10 at the Rod Myers Invitational (T-8th) ... coming off a tie for 12th at the Yale Spring Invitational.
· Michael Ricaurte (Sr. - Columbus, Ohio) - Owns a 74.1 stroke average over 15 rounds of play ... has a pair of top 20 finishes, including a tie for eighth at the Blue Devil Spring Shootout ... has posted a counting team score in 13 of 14 rounds while in the lineup ... shot a season-low 69 in the opening round of the Yale Spring Invitational ... playing in the ACC Championship for the first time in his career.
· Alexander Matlari (So. - Leimen, Germany) - Enters the ACC Championship with a 74.2 stroke average and four rounds of even-par or better golf over 18 rounds of action ... shares the team lead with three top 10 finishes, including a tie for third at the Bandon Dunes Championship ... also placed in the top 10 at the Blue Devil Spring Shootout (T-8th) and Yale Spring Invitational (8th) ... 71.7 stroke average over the past nine rounds with four rounds of even-par or better golf in that span ... shot rounds of 74, 75 and 76 to finish tied for 47th at the 2014 ACC Championship.
· Turner Southey-Gordon (Sr. - Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - Has a 74.3 stroke average with two top 20 finishes ... tied for fourth at the Blue Devil Spring Shootout ... tied for 11th at the Bandon Dunes Championship with a 71-72=143 ... shares the team lead with 10 tournaments and 26 rounds of golf played .... has three even-par and three under-par rounds on the year ... 71.9 stroke average over the past four tournaments ... shot 78-75-70 to tie for 40th at the 2014 ACC Championship.
The Tournament Field
· Duke will vie for the 2015 ACC Championship along with Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
· Five ACC teams are ranked in the top 30 of the Golfstat rankings – Florida State (1), Georgia Tech (11), North Carolina (19), Wake Forest (23), Virginia (28).
· Wake Forest leads all schools with 18 league titles and 22 individual champions. Georgia Tech, which has won 13 outright ACC Championships and shared two more, has produced 10 individual medalists, including Schniederjans, last year’s winner. North Carolina is third with 11 titles (10 outright), followed by Clemson with nine (eight outright).
· Duke has had its share of success at Old North State Club winning the 2013 ACC Championship at the venue and carding nine of its 10 lowest 18-hole scores in ACC Championship history at the course.
· ACC teams have accounted for 26 tournament victories this season.
Old North State Club, hosting the ACC Championship for the 14th consecutive year and the 19th time overall, will play as a 7,102-yard par 72 this weekend. The Tom Fazio-designed course was created along a 2 1/2 mile peninsula in Badin Lake. The piece of land known as Uwharrie Point was developed and in 1992 the golf course bearing the historic name for North Carolina “Old North State” opened for play. The course quickly gained a reputation with golfers from across the nation and that year was awarded the No. 2 spot in Golf Digest’s ranking of best new private courses in America. The North Carolina Golf Panel has repeatedly ranked Old North State as the top private course in the state. The course has also received the ranking as the best par three and best finishing hole in North Carolina.
“All of our guys are excited about playing at Old North State Club,” said Green. “The club and community roll out the red carpet. They have tons of volunteer support, great staff, great rules officials. It’s absolutely as first-class of a tournament that we get to play in all year. And not every conference in the country gets to say that. I’ve been in a few different conferences and none run the championship like the ACC Championship. Our guys know that, they feel it, and right on down to staying with Carl and Linda Tucker, who are parents of one of our really good alums. It’s just a great experience for the guys and they love going.”
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