RALEIGH, N.C. -- Senior Brinson Paolini fired a final round 71 to lead the Blue Devils to a one-over 289 in the Wolfpack Spring Open Sunday at Lonnie Poole Golf Course. Duke, 10th in the latest Golfstat rankings, finished two shots better than host N.C. State to record its fourth tournament victory of the season.
"I am very proud of our guys to win here locally in front of our followers and to be able to drive back home with that trophy in hand," said head coach Jamie Green. "The wind was challenging out there and you had to stay patient. Our guys did that today. They have worked hard throughout the season and to see the depth of our team with six guys in the top 20 is a good thing for all of us as we role on into the ACC Championship."
Duke entered the day with a three-stroke lead and played steady golf throughout the round to secure the victory with a one-under 575. N.C. State, playing on its home course, was two shots back with a 577 and followed by Clemson (+6, 582), St,. John's (+13, 589) and Francis Marion (+19, 595).
"Getting a win the week before ACCs is huge," said Paolini of Duke's team title. "We are building good momentum and being in contention today gives use some great opportunities to learn from and improve on before next weekend."
N.C. State's Albin Choi posted a six-under 66 to claim medalist honors with a seven-under 137. Paolini finished one shot back with a six-under 138. The tandem, paired together Sunday, engaged in a back-and-forth dual throughout the day. Choi charged up the leaderboard with five birdies on the first 13 holes, while Paolini's steady play kept him in contention throughout the round.
On the final hole of the day, Duke held a two-shot lead with Choi grasping a one-shot edge in the quest for medalist honors. Paolini sank a 15-foot birdie putt to secure the team championship for Duke and temporarily take a share of the tournament individual lead. Choi, whose approach on No. 18 landed inches from the cup, countered with a 10-foot birdie putt of his own to claim the win on his home course.
"Brinson was right there in the thick of it all day long and right up to the last shot," added Green. "When he absolutely had to have it, he hit three great shot on No. 18 and made birdie. You just have to tip your cap to Albin Choi, who is one of the best players in college golf this year. When he is playing his home golf course and throws up a 66 you just can't play defense against that."
Clemson's Miller Capps finished third with a four-under 140 with Duke senior Julian Suri and St. John's Ryan McCormick tying for fourth with two-under 142s. Seniors Adam Sumrall and Tim Gornik also placed in the top 10 for Duke, finished tied for sixth and tied for eighth, respectively.
Paolini recorded three birdies, three pars and three bogeys to make the turn at even-par in the final round. He moved into red figures with a birdie on the par 4 13th hole. After a bogey on No. 17, Paolini closed the tournament with a birdie on the par 4 18th hole for his team-leading 12 under-par round.
Suri, playing as an individual, opened play on the back nine and sat at two-over following a bogey on the par 4 16th hole. He began to turn things around with a birdie on No. 18 (par 4) and added birdies on No. 1 (par 5) and No. 3 (par 5) to move to one-under. Following a bogey on No. 5, Suri closed with an eagle on the par 5 7th hole and a birdie on No. 9 for a three-under 69.
Gornik, a senior from Slovenia, posted an even-par 72 Sunday never moving more than one stroke on either side of par. He finished the day with six birdies, six pars and six bogeys while recording his third top 10 finish of the season. Gornik also competed in the event as an individual.
Freshman Mads Soegaard posted an even-par 72 in the final round to finish tied for 12th with a two-over 146. He began the day with birdie on No. 1 before moving back to even-par following a bogey on No. 4. Soegaard parred the next five holes to make the turn at even-par. Birdies on No. 10 (par 4) and No. 13 (par 4) pushed Soegaard back into red figures before back-to-back bogeys on No. 16 and No. 17 dropped him back to even-par.
Sumrall recorded a one-over 73 Sunday to tie for sixth with an even-par 144. The South Bend, Ind., native opened the day with nine straight pars before carding a birdie on the par 4 10th hole. He suffered bogeys on No. 12 and No. 14 to slip to one-over before adding a birdie on the par 5 15th hole. Sumrall dropped a stroke with a bogey on No. 18.
Austin Cody, a junior from North Charleston, S.C., tied for 15th after shooting rounds of 74-73. In Sunday's final round, he registered three birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys. Cody was two-over at the turn before settling in to play the back nine at one-under, including a birdie on the par 4 18th hole.
Freshman Motin Yeung finished tied for 38th with an eight-over 152. He posted a six-over 78 Sunday with two birdies, 10 pars, five bogeys and a triple-bogey.
Complete scoring and leaderboards for the Wolfpack Spring Open
Duke returns to action April 26-28 at the ACC Championship at Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
*** Duke claimed its fourth tournament win over the season and its third in the state of North Carolina ... the last time Duke won four tournaments in a season was in 2004-05 ... the four wins in a season matches the school record.
*** Head coach Jamie Green now had 26 tournament coaching victories , including nine since taking over at Duke in the spring of 2009.
*** Duke had four players finish in the top 10 of the standing, marking the third time this season the Blue Devils have had four or more top 10 finishes in a tournament this season ... Duke was the only team in the tournament field with more than two players to finish in the top 10.
*** Paolini recorded his 12th career top 5 finish, tied for second-most at Duke ... he is also second at Duke with 64 even-par or better rounds.
*** Paolini has now finished in the top 20 in all nine team stroke-play events this season.
*** Suri recorded his 10th under-par round and his third round in the 60s ... he finished the tournament seven-under on the par 5s at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
*** Suri moved into a tie for second in the Duke record books with 45 career under-par rounds ... he is also now tied for fourth at Duke with 10 top 5 finishes in his career.
*** Sumrall recorded his third top 10 finish of the year ... he has placed in the top 10 of each of his last two tournaments.