CHATTANOOGA, TN - The Duke men's golf team is tied for 22nd at the NCAA Championship after shooting an eight-over 296 on Tuesday at The Honors Course. The Blue Devils were led by junior Wes Roach and senior Adam Long, who fired rounds of 69 and 73, respectively.
Oklahoma State and Florida State share the tournament lead after the first round as each team posted five-under 283 on Tuesday. Oregon is one shot back at four-under (284), while Texas A&M (285), Arizona State (286) and Clemson (286) round out the top 5. Augusta State and Florida are tied for seventh at one-under (287) with Washington (289), Texas (290) and Georgia Tech (290) tied for 10th. The top eight teams following 54 holes of play advance on to match play.
Stanford, Kent State and North Florida are tied for 12th with four-over 292 following by; California (293), Baylor (294), UNLV (294), San Diego (294), UCLA (294), USC (295), Oregon State (295), Duke (296), Georgia Southern (297), Tennessee (297), Virginia (300), Penn State (301), TCU (302), Texas Tech (302), LSU (303) and Illinois (304).
"The tournament is packed with quality players and good golf teams," head coach Jamie Green said. "You need to take advantage of every opportunity that you have out there. Even Wes [Roach] would say he probably let a couple of them slip. There's no doubt we're not out of anything by any means. We had our back up against the wall in Regionals and our guys knew that. They responded and played some of the best golf they've played all year. I know our guys are hungry for the next few days and looking forward to getting back out here tomorrow and taking it to the golf course as best they can."
Roach, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., parred the first two holes on Tuesday before registering a bogey on the par 3 fourth hole. He responded with birdies on No. 4 and No. 5 and added another birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at two-under. Following three pars to open the back nine, Roach birdied No. 13 and No. 16 to move to four-under. He ran into trouble with a bogey on the par 5 17th hole but recovered to par No. 18 to close the first round one shot off the tournament lead. Roach is one of 10 players tied for third with a three-under 69.
"I had a good look for birdie on No. 1 and No. 2 - both inside 10 feet - and I missed them both and then I missed another short putt on No. 3 for par," said Roach. "I made a birdie putt on No. 4 from about 15 feet and that really got me going. From then on, I was really focused all day and was able to execute really well."
Long recorded a team-high 13 pars en route to a one-over 73 in the first round. He parred his first two holes of the day before recording back-to-back bogeys on No. 3 and No. 4 to move to two-over. The St. Louis, Mo., native rattled off nine straight pars and added a birdie on the par 3 14th hole to get to one-over. Long had his third bogey of the round on No. 15 before ending par-birdie-par to move into a tie for 52nd after the first day of action at the NCAA Championship.
Freshman Brinson Paolini posted a four-over 76 and is tied for 103rd following Tuesday's opening round of play. The Virginia Beach, Va., native start out par-par before running into a rough stretch with bogeys on No. 3 and No. 4 and a double-bogey on No. 7 to slip to four-over. He closed the front nine with a birdie on the par 4 ninth hole, but suffered his second double-bogey of the round on No. 10. Paolini sandwiched birdies on No. 11 and No. 13 around a bogey on No. 12 before closing the day with five straight pars.
Spencer Anderson, a sophomore from Pacific Palisades, Calif., played the front nine at six-over with one birdie, three pars, four bogeys and a triple-bogey. He settled in on the back nine with seven pars, one birdie and a bogey to end the day tied for 129th with a six-over 78.
Freshman Julian Suri opened the day with a birdie on No. 1 but ran into trouble with a quad-bogey on No. 4 to slip to three-over. He also bogeyed No. 6 before recovering to birdie the par 3 eighth hole to get back to three-over. The St. Augustine, Fla., native had a birdie, four pars, three bogeys and a double-bogey on the back nine. Suri closed the day tied for 139th with a seven-over 79.
Duke will tee of in second round action on Wednesday beginning at 12:59 pm on No. 10 at The Honors Course. The Blue Devils will once again be paired with North Florida and Tennessee. Live scoring is available at www.golfstat.com.
*** Former Blue Devil women's golfer Sarah LeBrun Ingram is honored at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn. with a plaque in the Ring of Honor ... LeBrun and her husband David Ingram are namesakes, along with John Karcher, for the Karcher-Ingram Golf Center at the Duke University Golf Course
*** Roach leads the tournament in par 4 scoring at four-under 3.60 ... he is tied for sixth after one round with five birdies
*** Roach's three-under 69 is tied for the fifth-best NCAA Championship round in Duke history ... it was also his eighth under-par round of the season
*** Roach was one of 35 players to shoot under-par in the opening round ... he was one of 14 players ranked outside the top 100 to shoot under-par on Tuesday
*** Long posted his 30th counting team score of the year ... he has recorded 30 or more counting rounds in all four seasons at Duke
*** Paolini suffered a pair of double-bogey in the opening round after carding just nine +2 or worse scores in his first 33 rounds
*** Holes No. 3 and No. 4 hurt Duke on Tuesday as the Blue Devils suffered five bogeys, one triple-bogey and one quad-bogey on the stretch ... Roach carded a birdie on the par 4 fourth hole for Duke's only sub-par score in the two hole stretch
*** Duke played the par 4 13th hole at three-under as Paolini, Roach and Suri each birdied the hole
*** Anderson's 78 snapped a string of seven straight rounds at 75 or better
*** Only five holes (No. 1, No. 2, No. 6, No. 14, No. 17) played at under-par for the field during the first round
Head coach Jamie Green
On today's rounds
"It was an almost, the course isn't playing easy out there. It is certainly long, and if you hit it off the beaten path, it is definitely going to be hard to score. We had one player that played very well. He almost got a great round in. He bogeyed No. 17, but played a terrific round of golf. The other guys would have liked to help him a little more, but we got some time."
On playing The Honors Course
"It is absolutely one of, if not the best golf course that we ever play. It is that good. We are so lucky to be here, every one of these teams and players. If we come here again, we would do it in a heartbeat."
On which hole was the most difficult
"Generally, before the round started I would have said No. 7. But, you have to look at the scores to see if it came to fruition. You just have to have your head screwed on straight for every tee shot, or it could come up and bite you."
On Wes Roach's day
"Wes Roach shot a 3‐under, who is from Knoxville, Tenn., played this course last summer. He hit some really piercing iron shots. He stuck some in really close (to the hole). When he missed a golf shot, he got it up and down. It was just one of those days. Hopefully he will stay sharp, and I know he can give even more than that. He should also have some high expectations."
"He was in one of those Wes Roach-kind of zones on certain periods. There are certain periods of the round where he's got tunnel vision and he gets this walk going, and you just know he's going to hit it a good golf shot and it's going to be followed by a good putt. He is a terrific player. He's worked extremely hard on the short game this year. He hit a lot of great golf shots today from tee to green, and if he missed one, his short game safe him some strokes. And that's really the only way to score out here. You've got to take advantage of things when you have an opportunity to hit one close, and when you don't, you just kind of rely on good short game. And that's what Wes had today. Any round under-par out there today is a good round of golf by anybody."
On The Honors Course history
"We had a banquet dinner last night and there were a lot of words said about Mr. Lumpkin's dedication to amateur golf and to building this golf course to really honor those that remain true amateurs of the game. This golf course - it's the kind of course you could put anywhere. He patterned it after Augusta in some ways and he hired Pete Dye to get it done. He went all the way down to Seminole in Florida to find Pete Dye on the golf course and said, 'You're going to build my golf course.' He raised all the funds and did everything that there was to do to get this course ready. Everything this club does honors amateur golfing. In front of the clubhouse there are a number of plaques honoring great amateur players. To have Sarah LeBrun Ingram as one of the 12 honorees is a wonderful thing about this club and a great honor for Sarah and her husband, and obviously for Duke University. That's a great thing for us and we're just proud to be here to be part of this event."
Junior Wes Roach
On his round today
"This is probably one of my better ball striking rounds of the year. I hit the ball pretty well today. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and made a couple of good up and downs when I missed greens. Overall I hit a lot of greens and it was pretty much a solid round."
On what the team needs to do moving forward
"We just need to go out there from the first shot we all have and be ready to go. And make sure we're not intimidated by the course or anything like that. You've got to be ready to take advantage of the greens being soft. We've dug ourselves into a hole a couple times this year and we have been able to play our way out of it. We definitely need to go out there tomorrow and be ready to play well throughout the round. We're going to need to shoot some under-par scores in the next couple rounds. If we get off to a good start the five or six holes out there tomorrow, it will be no problem."
On being close to home
"It is great to be back home. I am only an hour and a half from my house. It is definitely good to be back around here. It has been nice to come back."
On his first round
"I shot a first round 69, and I have two more rounds to go, then, hopefully, a couple more rounds of match play this weekend."
On the back nine
"I started off the back nine with a really good par by getting up and down from the bunker. I hit a couple of wedge shots on the next two holes to within 15 feet of the cup, but I missed. I finally got a birdie on No. 13. On No. 14, I missed a putt, but on No. 15, I made a really, really good save. I was long right, and made about a 25‐foot putt for par. On No. 16, I made about a 15‐foot putt for birdie. But I threw one away on No. 17 with a bogey. I kind of fell asleep on my layup. I hit the ball into the first cut of the rough on the right, and then ended up hitting the ball over the green on my next shot. It was a little bit of a mental mistake, but I hit a couple of good shots on 18, and just barely missed a putt for birdie."
On the receptive greens
"They have gotten a lot of rain down here in the last week or so. I definitely have to take advantage of them, because if the rain stays away then it is not going to get an easier.
On the challenging Par 5's
"I definitely didn't expect to shoot a 69 by playing the par 5s 1‐under. I had good luck on the first three par‐5s. On No. 11, I was within 10 feet, but couldn't convert, and then made my mistake on No. 17 with my third shot. I definitely need to play the par 5s better the next few days and hopefully in match play.
On The Honors Course
"I played out here in the state amateur tournament last summer, and a few times in high school. The more you play out here, the more comfortable you are. It has been nice to play some tournament golf out here. The experience has definitely helped me."
Senior Adam Long
On his round today
"I never really felt great about anything in the first round. Missed a couple putts earlier, but I stuck with it. I'm satisfied with my 73 to start. I would have liked to be under-par, but at the same time, I just didn't hit the ball really well throughout the day."
On The Honors Course
"I think it's one of the best courses I've ever played in my life. It's just pure golf. You have to hit a lot of good shots out there. It will penalize a player for bad shots but it's playing fair. There are some awesome holes out there with pristine conditions and it's a lot of fun to play. As far as scoring, these are probably the lowest rounds possible because of the softer greens. It might be playing a little bit longer than normal, but at the same time, you can fly long irons or longer clubs into the greens."