WALLACE, N.C. -- Junior Brinson Paolini fired a final round 66 (-6) on Saturday to claim medalist honors and guide Duke to a runner-up finish at the River Landing Intercollegiate. Julian Suri, Spencer Anderson and Austin Cody also finished in the top 20 overall at the River Landing Course (par 72, 6,904 yards). Duke finished off the second round on Saturday with a seven-under 281 before collecting a five-under 283 in the final round to finish tied for second.
Paolini was eight-under during Saturday's 27 holes of play to finish the tournament with an eight-under 208 (73-69-66). He posted a tournament-low 66 (-6) in the final round to claim a one-shot victory over Niklas Lindstrom (Liberty). Robert Karlsson (Liberty) and Jordan Sease (Winthrop) were tied for third at six-under with Albin Choi (N.C. State) and Michael McGowan (North Carolina) tied for fifth at five-under 211.
"It was a great day. I was just trying to get into the process of being in a great frame of mind and help the team as best I could," said Paolini. "I have had some close calls in the past [with earning medalist honors] so it feels great to get the job done."
Liberty shot a 10-under 278 in the third round to take the team title with a 54-hole score of 846 (-18). Duke shot 291-281-283=855 (-9) to finish tied for second along with N.C. State (286-284-285). East Carolina and North Carolina finished tied for fourth at five-under (859) followed by South Carolina (869, +5), Virginia Tech (870, +6), Maryland (878, +14), Winthrop (880, +16), Virginia Commonwealth (892, +28), UNC Wilmington (906, +42) and Jacksonville (931, +67).
"We didn't get off to the kind of start we would have liked to and Liberty played very well to create some separation," said head coach Jamie Green. "I was really pleased with how the guys got things on the right track, ironed some things out and put some red numbers on the board. I think everybody on the team found places to take advantage of the golf course and climb back into contention. Liberty put together a really good final round to close the door."
Paolini posted a three-under 69 in the second round to enter the final round three shots off the lead. Beginning on the back nine in the third round, Paolini fired a four-under 32 on holes No. 10-18 to charge up the leaderboard. The Virginia Beach, Va., native continued his steady play after the turn and added birdies on the par 5 fifth hole and the par 3 sixth hole to move to six-under on the round. Paolini closed out with three straight pars to secure his first career victory at Duke.
Paolini's six-under 66 was his lowest round of the season. He now has 11 under-par rounds this season, including seven rounds in the 60s. Paolini finished the tournament with 14 birdies and was one of two players to record two rounds in the 60s at the River Landing Intercollegiate.
Junior Julian Suri finished 12th overall with a two-under 214. He posted rounds of 72-68-74 to record his seventh top 20 finish of the season. The St. Augustine, Fla, native was tied for first in par 5 scoring at nine-under (4.25) and tied for fifth in birdies with 13. Suri has now finished in the top 20 in each of the last six tournaments. He has shot even-par or better in 14 of the last 18 rounds.
Spencer Anderson, a senior from Pacific Palisades, Calif., matched a season-low and the tournament-low with a six-under 66 in the final round to finish tied for 13th with a one-under 215. Anderson, competing as an individual, ranked among the tournament leaders in par 5 scoring at six-under (4.50). He now has five top 20 finishes in 2011-12.
Sophomore Austin Cody collected a three-under 69 on Saturday to finish tied for 19th with an even-par 216. The North Charleston, S.C., native registered rounds of 72-75-69 for his fifth top 20 finish of the year.
Adam Sumrall posted a three-over 75 to close the event tied for 38th with a five-over 221 along with teammate Tim Gornik. Gornik, playing as an individual, fired rounds of 74-74-73. Yaroslav Merkulov (79-72-74) and Turner Southey-Gordon (73-77-75) finished tied for 53rd at nine-over 225.
Duke returns to action April 20-22 at the ACC Championship at Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
*** Duke has now finished as tournament runner-up five times this season
*** The Blue Devils led the River Landing Intercollegiate with 55 birdies ... Duke was also a tournament-best 19-under (4.68) on the par 5s at the River Landing Course ... the Blue Devils were tied for second in par 3 scoring at +3 (3.05)
*** Paolini ranked second in the tournament in par 3 scoring (-3, 2.75) and tied for third in par 4 scoring (-2, 3.93)