GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team posted a one-over 289 on Sunday to finish sixth at the NCAA East Regional with a +17, 881. The Blue Devils closed the event three shots back of fifth place with the top five teams advancing on to the NCAA Championship at Riviera Country Club.
"The guys really set their jaws over the last two rounds and played with a lot of commitment and determination," said head coach Jamie Green. "That allowed us to knock on the door and scratch and claw to try to get one of those last spots. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite get far enough out of the hole that we dug in the first round. I could not be more proud of how they played over the last two rounds."
Duke's four-over 580 over the final two rounds of the tournament was third-best score in the 14-team field but not quite enough to overcome an opening round 301.
Liberty captured the NCAA East Regional title with a four-over 868 with Florida finishing two shots back. Auburn (+10, 874), Lamar (+13, 877) and Tulsa (+14, 878) also finished in the top five to advance to the NCAA Championship.
Vaita Guillaume (Campbell), Robert Karlsson (Liberty) and Matt Schovee (SMU) shared individual medalist honors with Guillaume topping Schovee in a one-hole sudden-death playoff to claim an individual spot in the NCAA Championship. Karlsson advance to the NCAA Championship by virtue of Liberty's first place finish.
Fifth-ranked Auburn was sitting outside the top five late in the round before the Tigers caught fire and played the final three holes (No. 16-18) at seven-under. Blayne Barber aced the par 3 16th hole and added a birdie on No. 18 to push Auburn up the leaderboard. Colton Staggs helped Tulsa advance with two eagles and three birdies during a seven-hole stretch midway through the final round.
Paolini began the day with a bogey on No. 10 before he ripped off seven straight pars. The Virginia Beach, Va., native birdied the par 5 18th hole to make the turn at even-par. After suffering a bogey on No. 2, Paolini rebounded with five pars and birdies on No. 5 and No. 7 for his 12th under-par round of the season. He finished tied for seventh with a one-over 217, his fourth top 10 showing of the year.
Anderson placed tied for 28th with an eight-over 224. He suffered a bogey on No. 10 to open the day before getting back to even-par with a birdie on the par 4 14th hole. The Pacific Palisades, Calif., native bogeyed the par 5 18th hole but got into red figures after birdies on the par 3 third and par 4 fourth holes. Anderson added a birdie on No. 6 (par 5) before dropping a stroke with a bogey on his final hole of the tournament. The under-par round was Anderson's 11th of the season.
"Spencer has done so many things for this program on and off the course," said Green. "For him to play so well on the back nine today to get us in contention was great to see. He has meant so much to this program and we are going to miss him."
Cody carded 14 pars, two birdies and two bogeys en route to an even-par 72. He closed the tournament tied for 23rd with a six-over 222. The North Charleston, S.C., native played No. 10-18 at one-under with birdies on the par 5 13th and par 3 16th holes. He went on to register eight pars and a bogey on No. 8 on the front nine at the Grandover Resort East Course.
Junior Julian Suri posted a three-over 75 in the final round to finish tied for 55th with a +14, 230. Nursing a wrist injury throughout the tournament, he finished with 39 pars but was plagued by five double-bogeys and a triple-bogey. Suri finished the year with a school-record 71.27 stroke average to go along with two tournament wins, five top 5 finishes and eight top 20 finishes.
Adam Sumrall, a junior from South Bend, Ind., had a five-over 77 on Saturday to finish tied for 16th with a five-over 221. He finished in the top 20 in three of the final four events of the season. In the final round, Sumrall had 12 pars, two birdies and two bogeys but also suffered a double-bogey and a triple-bogey.
Duke concludes the season with one tournament victory (Rod Myers Invitational) and five runner-up finishes.
"I know the guys are hurting and it is a hard thing to swallow to have your season shortened, but they did a lot of great things this year," added Green. "These guys have worked so hard throughout the year and really enjoyed some great success. They did a great job fighting all year and have shown tremendous character."