DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s golf team opens the spring season Feb. 10-11 at The Farms Collegiate Invitational (par 72, 6,947 yards) in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The Blue Devils competed in four team events in the fall with a top finish of third place at the Rod Myers Invitational.
Head coach Jamie Green will guide a young lineup featuring two freshmen and a sophomore into the first tournament of the spring. Juniors Turner Southey-Gordon and Michael Ricaurte help balance the group that also includes sophomore Motin Yeung along with freshmen Alexander Matlari and Max Greyserman. Senior Austin Cody and freshman Andrew Bieber will also compete in the event as individuals.
“Our group of players, coaches and staff, are collectively as committed as any group I’ve seen since I’ve been here at Duke,” said Green. “We know the numbers from the fall weren’t what we expected, but we’re not living in the past. I think we’ve learned a lot from what we went through with new experiences for guys. They were extremely motivated and extremely rededicated to start this spring. I’ve seen a lot of really important improvements happening through the lineup. I issued some challenges to the guys and they’ve responded well when we’ve had an opportunity to get out there to play and compete. We’re just excited to put that hard work into practice and tournament play and see how we measure up.”
Yeung paced the Blue Devils in the fall with a 72.9 stroke average and five rounds of even-par or better golf. He had four under-par rounds over three tournaments and tied for sixth at the Rod Myers Invitational. Matlari, a native of Leimen, Germany, posted a team-high two top 20 finishes to go with a 73.9 stroke average, while fellow newcomer Greyserman had a 74.0 stroke average with a tie for fourth finish at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, while Southey-Gordon posted a 74.3 stroke average in the fall. Ricaurte posted one top 20 finish in the fall to go along with a 76.4 stroke average.
“You never know what you’re going to get weather-wise,” added Green. “We made the most of what we had. We had a chance to get out there and play, under cold, wet, challenging conditions. One guy in particular, Turner Southey-Gordon, stepped up and didn’t get bashful about getting under par and staying there and hunting for more red numbers. I think that was a good thing for our guys on the team to see from a leadership perspective. He’s a junior on the team and he’s shot some under par scores for us in tournament play.”
Cody is Duke’s most experienced player with 96 career rounds and 12 top 20 finishes. He struggled in the fall season but appears to be back on track for his final semester of college golf. Bieber, who is currently dealing with an eye injury, has played in three events during his young career.
Play at The Farms Collegiate Invitational opens with an 11:15 a.m. (ET) shotgun start Monday. Following the 36-hole opening day, Tuesday’s 18-hole final round will begin at 11:00 a.m. with set tee times. Duke is joined in the tournament field by San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Denver, Kennesaw State, Fresno State, San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, UC Riverside and Saint Mary’s College.
“What we try to do with our schedule is make sure we’re going to great golf courses,” said Green. “We make sure our guys are tested and get prepared for the highest level of competition. This is one of those courses where there is going to be a pretty high premium on ball striking and hitting golf balls where you want it to be. Everybody’s going to miss shots, but by hitting good solid golf shots in the vicinity of where they’re trying to hit it should keep the team in contention. We should be able to compete and score because it’s a pretty high standard on shot value out there.”