ALPHARETTA, GA -- Senior Julian Suri fired a five-under 67 in the final round of the U.S. Collegiate Championship to lead Duke to a one-under 287 on Sunday on the Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia. The Blue Devils finished tied for sixth overall with an 18-over 882, with Suri and fellow senior Brinson Paolini both finishing in the top 20 individually.
Host Georgia Tech claimed the team title in dramatic fashion as Ollie Schniederjans eagled the par 5 18th hole to give the Yellow Jackets a one-shot win over UCLA. Georgia Tech finished with a 10-over 874 with the Bruins closing with an 875 (+11). Southern Cal finished third with a +15 879 with Virginia (+16) and Stanford (+17) rounding out the top five. Duke was tied for sixth along with Clemson at 18-over.
The Blue Devils rebounded nicely after struggling to a 17-over 305 in the opening round of play on Friday. Duke's one-over 577 over the final 36 holes of play was second-best in the 15-team field. Twelve of the 15 teams in the field are currently ranked in the top 35 of the Golfstat rankings, including eight teams ranked in the top 20 overall.
"We would have loved to play better in the first round but you don't get do overs," said head coach Jamie Green. "We will look and see what sort of things we could have prepared for a little better and move forward. I am very proud and pleased that our guys were able to turn things around over the last two rounds and shoot scores and play at the level that they did. They didn't get shaken or lose confidence. They regrouped to play some terrific golf over the last two rounds."
Stanford's Patrick Rodgers shot a five-under 67 on Sunday to grab the individual title with a seven-under 209. Talor Gooch (Oklahoma State), Michael Johnson (Auburn) and Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington) were tied for second at three-under. Suri was the top finisher for Duke with a tie for 13th (+3, 219) showing, while Paolini tied for 20th with a four-over 220.
Suri's five-under 67 in the final round matched Rodgers for low round of the tournament. He has now shot under-par in six of 12 rounds this fall, while finishing in the top 20 in all four fall events. Paolini has also collected top 20 finishes in each of the four events this season.
"Julian's round today was extraordinary," added Green. "There wasn't nearly as much wind today but the golf course continued to show its teeth and that is why you saw some teams and players still struggle out there. It is a tribute to the challenge of the golf course."
In Sunday's final round, Suri got off to a fast start with three birdies over the first four holes of play. The St. Augustine, Fla., native added a birdie on the par 4 eighth hole before suffering his lone blemish of the day with a double-bogey on the par 5 ninth hole. Suri recovered with birdies on No. 10 (par 4), No. 12 (par 4) and No. 14 (par 4) to move to five-under before closing the tournament with four straight pars. He climbed 38 spots on the leaderboard on Sunday for the largest jump of the day.
"I hit it just as good today as the last couple days but the conditioons today were perfect for scoring," said Suri. "I stayed patient and was able to hole some putts today after having a rough day on the greens yesterday. As a team, we didn't have a great first day, but worked on some things and improved tremendously. We kept the positive vibes going for today and were able to finish up with a respectable day to round out the event."
Senior Adam Sumrall carded his second straight round of even-par golf to finish tied for 28th with a six-over 222. He carded four birdies, 10 pars and four bogeys on Sunday for his team-leading fourth even-par round of the season.
Freshman Mads Soegaard and junior Austin Cody both posted two-over 74s in the final round of play. Soegaard collected two birdies and 12 pars with four bogeys to close the event tied for 34th with a seven-over 223. Cody finished tied for 62nd with at +14. In the final round, he recorded four birdies but was handicapped by a pair of double-bogeys in his open six holes of play.
Paolini got off to a strong start with back-to-back birdies before stumbling en route to a four-over 76. The Virginia Beach, Va., native was troubled with double-bogeys on the par 3 sixth hole and par 3 17th hole and also had three bogeys during a four-hole stretch on the back nine. Paolini finished with a birdie on the par 5 18th hole to secure another top 20 finish.
Duke, 11th in the lastest Golfstat rankings, returns to action Oct. 29-30 at the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Calif. The Blue Devils have a pair of tournament victories this fall, while also finishing in the top half of the field at two other events.