OLYMPIA FIELDS, IL - The Duke men's golf team posted an 11-over 291 for the third straight day to finish tied for fourth at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational with a 33-over 873. Seniors Brinson Paolini and Julian Suri anchored the Blue Devils throughout the event finishing tied for second and seventh, respectively.
"This was certainly the kind of golf course where experience and maturity were going to pay big dividends," said head coach Jamie Green. "Brinson and Julian were challenging the top of the leaderboard and there was a lot of good play from the whole team out there today. I was really pleased and happy for them that they got something going in the final round. The last four holes really played tough for a lot of players. We were making a nice move and had we been able to cap it off a little bit better we would have been able to climb even further up. The guys played a lot of solid golf today and that was certainly nice to see."
Arkansas led wire-to-wire to claim the team title with a +14, 854. Florida finished second at +27 (867) with Florida State (+29, 869), Duke (+33, 873) and Stanford (+33, 873) rounding out the top five.
Patrick Rodgers (Stanford) posted a three-under 67 on Tuesday claim the individual crown with a three-under 207. He was the only player in the field to finish under-par at the Olympia Fields CC South Course (par 70, 7,080 yards). Paolini along with Daniel Berger (Florida State), Sebastian Cappelen (Arkansas), Austin Cook (Arkansas) and Nicholas Losole (Northwestern) tied for second with two-over 212s. Suri was in a group of four players tied for seventh at four-over (214).
"The fact that Brinson was in position to contend at the end is a testament to his level of consistency and mind set," said Green. "He played a lot of really solid golf with great saves around the greens and really good putting from six to 12 feet. It is tough to walk away without the top honor, but I think he is playing a lot of really good golf. That is going to bode well for him and the team this year.
Suri had a terrific round going to climb near the top of the individual leaderboard before suffering back-to-back double-bogeys late in the day. The St. Augustine, Fla., native opened with five straight pars before getting into red figures with a birdie on the par 4 sixth hole. Following four more pars, Suri added birdies on No. 11, No. 13 and No. 15 (all par 4s) to move to four-under on the day and within two shots of the lead. He suffered double-bogeys on No. 16 and No. 17 to end his individual title hopes before closing the tournament with a par on No. 18. Suri finished with a four-over 214 at the 54-hole event for his second top 10 finish of the season.
"Julian's hand and wrist injury from the end of last season and the summer has been a little bit of a challenge for him to get over physically and mentally," Green added. "Today he took some pretty big strides. He knew the challenge that the golf course was presenting out there and it really took some precision with ball striking and good decision making. You had to follow that up with some really sharp golf shots and I think he felt really good about a lot of what was going on out there. To get to four-under on that golf course at any given time is pretty darn good."
Paolini played the opening five holes at one-under on Tuesday with a birdie on the par 4 second hole. He slipped to one-over at the turn following bogeys on No. 6 and No. 9 before climbing back to even-par with a birdie on the par 4 11th hole. Paolini suffered four bogeys over the next six holes and added a par on No. 18 to finish with a four-over 74. The Virginia Beach, Va., native shot a two-over 212 for his ninth career top 5 finish.
Freshman Mads Soegaard had a consistent and solid ball striking round en route to a two-over 72 on Tuesday. He carded one birdie, 14 pars and three bogeys on the day. Soegaard finished the event with three birdies and 34 pars to tie for 39th with an 15-over 225.
Austin Cody, a junior from North Charleston, S.C., posted a five-over 75 in the final round. He got off to a rocky start with a double-bogey on No. 1 before bouncing back to birdie the par 3 third hole. Bogeys on No. 5, No. 6 and No. 11 dropped him to four-over on the day. Cody added a birdie on the par 4 13th hole but suffered bogeys on No. 15 and No. 16 before closing the tournament with back-to-back pars. He finished the Fighting Illini Invitational tied for 46th with a 17-over 227.
Senior Adam Sumrall struggled to start his round and to close the day en route to a six-over 76. The South Bend, Ind., native bogeyed three of the first five holes of play and three of the final four holes of the tournament. During the middle nine holes of play (No. 6-14), Sumrall played even-par golf with two birdies, two bogeys and five pars. He also finished the event tied for 46th with a 227.
Complete results and course statistics for the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational are available at www.golfstat.com.
Duke returns to action Oct. 13-14 when it hosts the Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke University Golf Club. Complete tournament details are available at www.goduke.com/rmi.
Follow the Duke men's golf team on Twitter @Duke_MGolf
*** Paolini has finished in the top 10 of both events this fall ... he is now eighth all-time at Duke with 14 career top 10 finishes
*** Paolini is also tied for fifth at Duke with nine career top 5 finishes
*** Paolini finished the tournament tied for first in par 4 scoring at one-under
*** Suri recorded his 47 career round of even-par or better golf, tied for eighth most at Duke
*** Suri finished tied for fifth with 38 pars, while Paolini also ranked among the tournament leaders with 36 pars
*** Duke struggled to close out the final round finishing 11-over as a team on the final four holes of play (No. 15-18) ... Suri recorded Duke's only birdie in that stretch on the par 4 15th hole