NEW LONDON, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team shot a seven-over 295 in challenging conditions in the final round at Old North State Club on Sunday to finish sixth overall at the ACC Championship with a two-under 862. Sophomore Austin Cody paced the Blue Devils with a one-under 71, while junior Adam Sumrall posted an even-par 72 in the final round.
"We went into the tournament with some high expectations and sometimes that is the right motivator and sometimes it doesn't work out," said head coach Jamie Green. "The reality is that these guys, top to bottom, had the game to play well this week and that showed itself in spurts. Each guy had a couple of things that unfortunately popped up this weekend that showed we need to do a little bit more work. We would have loved to have had a better ACC Championship, but there is still a lot of golf to play. We have some time to work on some individual things before regionals and we will see where that takes us."
Georgia Tech claimed its fourth straight ACC crown with a seven-shot victory over runner-up Virginia. The Yellow Jackets finished at 27-under (837). Florida State was third at -17, 847 and followed by Virginia Tech (-7, 857), Clemson (-7, 857), Duke (-2, 862), North Carolina (+3, 867), Wake Forest (+4, 868), N.C. State (+8, 872), Maryland (+13, 877) and Boston College (+33, 897).
Ben Rusch (Virginia) fired a three-under 69 in the final round to claim the individual title with a 10-under 206. Lee Bedford (Wake Forest) finished one shot back, while Blake Redmond (Virginia Tech) placed third with an eight-under 208. Anderson Albertson (Georgia Tech) and Denny McCarthy (Virginia) were tied for fourth at seven-under.
Sumrall was Duke's top finishes at the ACC Championship, placing tied for 14th with a 54-hole score of 214 (72-70-72). On Sunday, he recorded 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey for his third even-par round of the season. Sumrall bogeyed the par 3 third hole before getting back to even-par with a birdie on the 181-yard, par 3 seventh hole. The South Bend, Ind., native closed the event with 11 straight pars to secure his third top 20 finish of the season.
"Adam has spent a lot of time working very diligently on his golf swing. He has had some new things he has worked on with a new instructor and he has built up his confidence," added Green. "He saw some really good golf shots obviously but he also saw that his misses were good and very playable. It is all well and good to have a functional strong swing but at the end of the day when you are in a championship like this what it really comes down to is your mental strength. That was the thing that I was able see. He was in a great place mentally and that allowed him to be so consistent throughout the tournament."
Cody began the day with a bogey on No. 1 (par 5) but quickly got back to even-par with a birdie on the par 5 fourth hole. He suffered a bogey on No. 7 before bouncing back with birdies on No. 11 (par 5), No. 12 (par 4) and No. 13 (par 4) to slide to two-under on the round. The North Charleston, S.C., native went on to par four of the next five holes with a bogey on No. 17 for his eight under-par round this season. Cody closed the tournament tied for 41st with a five-over 221 (74-76-71).
"Austin's round today was terrific," said Green. "Scoring conditions were much different than the first couple of days so shooting under-par out there today was obviously a very strong score."
Junior Julian Suri posted a four-over 76 on Sunday to finish tied for 18th with an even-par 216. The top 20 finish was his eighth in 10 tournament this season. Suri opened with a birdie on No. 1 but suffered bogeys on No. 2, No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 to make the turn at three-over. He trimmed a shot with a birdie on the par 4 12th hole before carding bogeys on No. 14 and No. 17 down the stretch.
Spencer Anderson also recorded a four-over 76 in the final round of play. He finished the ACC Championship tied for 21st with a one-over 217. On Sunday, Anderson had two birdies and 11 pars but also suffered four bogeys on the front nine and a double-bogey on the par 4 15th hole.
Junior Brinson Paolini finished tied for 49th with a 10-over 226. After posting back-to-back even-par rounds, the Virginia Beach, Va., native suffered through a 10-over 82 on Sunday.
The Blue Devils find out there NCAA Regional fate on Monday, May 7.
"On one side of the coin, we are looking forward and we are excited to prepare for regionals but on the other side we don't want to just close the door on the championship," said Green. "It is too important when you have high expectations and it doesn't work out to scrutinize that and look very closely at each guy's game. Looking back at this tournament can help us spend the right time the next couple of weeks preparing for regionals."
*** Duke finished under-par at the ACC Championship for the sixth straight season.
*** The Blue Devils had at top 10 finisher in each of the previous seven ACC Championships.
*** Sumrall has posted a counting team score in eight of nine rounds as a member of the lineup ... his tie for 13th finish was his best showing of the season.
*** Sumrall was one of only six players to shoot even-par or better in all three rounds.
*** Sumrall led all players with 44 pars, five more than the next closest competitor ... Suri was tied for third in the tournament with 14 birdies.
*** Cody recorded one of the seven under-par rounds on Sunday.
*** Suri's 76 in the final round snapped a string of 27 consecutive rounds of shooting 75 or better ... he has shot 75 or better in 28 of 30 rounds this season.
*** Suri now has 20 top 20 finishes in his career, tied for sixth-most at Duke ... he has finished in the top 20 in seven straight tournaments.
*** Suri has finished eight of the 10 tournaments at even-par or better.
*** Anderson is second on the team with a career-best 72.3 stroke average.