GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Duke men's golf team, ranked 18th in the latest Golf World / Nike Golf Coaches' Poll, is 11th after one round of play after shooting a 13-over 301 in the opening round of the NCAA East Regional at the Grandover Resort East Course (par 72, 7,271 yards). Junior Adam Sumrall and Brinson Paolini paced the Blue Devils with one-over 73s on Thursday.
"You don't want to dig yourself a hole to get out of but these guys know how to climb," said head coach Jamie Green. "They have done it before, they did it at regionals at Notre Dame in 2010, and what I told them after the round was how much I believe in them and how much I know they believe in themselves. Everybody has something unique that if they could step back and do over again they would but what's past is past. These guys have already regrouped and gotten themselves ready for tomorrow. There is no time for looking back, so we are going to use the time we have to do what has to be done to move forward."
Liberty posted the only under-par team round on the day and holds the first round lead with a five-under 283. SMU is five shots back at even-par with Tulsa (+5, 293), UNLV (+5, 293) and Texas Tech (+6, 294) rounding out the top five. Duke enters tomorrow's second round seven shots out of fifth place. The top five teams after 54 holes of play advance to the NCAA Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
SMU's Matt Schovee holds the individual lead after firing a five-under 67. He holds a two-shot lead over teammate Harry Higgs and John Young Kim of Tulsa. Sumrall and Paolini are tied for 15th at one-over after 18 holes of play.
With Duke starting the day on the back nine, Sumrall opened up with back-to-back pars before going through a birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey stretch. He finished off the back nine with three more pars to make the turn at even-par. The South Bend, Ind., native suffered a bogey on No. 1 but quickly recovered with a birdie on the par 5 second hole. Sumrall parred the next six holes, narrowly missing birdie putts on No. 7 and No. 8, before closing with a bogey on the par 4 ninth hole.
Paolini carded a birdie on No. 10 to start the tournament but dropped back to even-par with a bogey on No. 11. The Virginia Beach, Va., native birdied the par 3 12th hole before again suffering a bogey on the very next hole. He closed off the back nine with five straight pars to make the turn at even-par. Paolini added a birdie on the par 5 second hole to move back to one-under but carded three bogeys over the next four holes to slip to +2. He bounced back to finish par-birdie-par for a one-over 73.
Senior Spencer Anderson also played the back nine at even-par with five pars, two birdies (No. 12 & No. 18) and two bogeys on holes No. 10-18. Anderson nearly carded an ace on the par 3 12th hole as he tee shot settled less than a foot from the cup. After the turn he tacked on six more pars but also suffered two bogeys and a double-bogey en route to a four-over 76. He enters tomorrow's second round tied for 39th.
Junior Julian Suri suffered his worst round of the season while nursing a wrist injury throughout the opening round. The St. Augustine, Fla., native finished with a seven-over 79 and was penalized by three tee balls that went out of play and resulted in a pair of double-bogeys and a triple-bogey. Suri closed the day with 13 pars despite struggling off the tee box throughout the round.
Austin Cody, a sophomore from North Charleston, S.C., also posted a seven-over 79 in the opening round. He and Suri are tied for 60th overall. Cody had 11 pars and seven bogeys on the day and was plagued by a cold putter on Thursday.
Duke opens second round play on Friday at 8:50 a.m. off No. 10 at the Grandover Resort East Course. The Blue Devils will be paired with Florida and Charlotte. Live scoring for the event is available at www.golfstat.com.