NEW LONDON, N.C. -- Four Blue Devils posted under-par rounds Friday as Duke shot a six-under 282 in the opening round of the 2013 ACC Championship. Senior Adam Sumrall led the way with three-under 69, while Brinson Paolini, Mads Soegaard and Julian Suri each fired 71s at Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
Duke, ranked 10th in the latest Golf World / Nike Golf Coaches Poll, enters tomorrow's second round tied for second with Virginia Tech, 11 shots behind first leader Florida State. The Seminoles posted a blistering 17-under 271 in the opening round. Georgia Tech is fourth with a 284 followed by Wake Forest (286), Virginia (287), North Carolina (292), N.C. State (294), Clemson (296), Maryland (298) and Boston College (308).
"It is nice to be able to get out to a nice start to a round but unfortunately we were not able to do that today," said head coach Jamie Green. "I am really pleased and proud of the way we were able to stay calm throughout the round. There was a lot of maturity with the way that we played and a lot of good decision making. We were patient but deliberate and that allowed us to make some birdies coming in. Florida State obviously played the golf course very well today but I am proud of the way we were able to compete throughout the round."
Daniel Berger (Florida State) holds the individual lead at seven-under with Anders Albertson (Georgia Tech) one shot back. Sumrall is tied for fifth at three-under, while Paolini, Soegaard and Suri are among six players tied for 12th at one-under.
Sumrall got off to a rocky start with a double-bogey on No. 2. The South Bend, Ind., native played nearly flawless golf from that point carding five birdies and 11 pars over the final 16 holes. He collected his first birdie on the par 5 fourth hole and added another birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at even-par. Following four straight pars, Sumrall moved into red figures with a birdie on the par 3 14th hole. He went on to add birdies on No. 16 and No. 18 to secure his seventh under-par round of the year.
"After I made that double on No. 2, I made a good five-footer for par on third and followed with a birdie on No. 4 that helped me settle down," said Sumrall. "From that point on I felt very comfortable on the course and hit a lot of good shots. Collectively as a team, we can't start so poorly over the next two rounds. We have shown we can play the rest of the course pretty well and we just need to build on today's performance and get off to a better start."
Paolini opened the tournament with a birdie before suffering four straight bogeys. He added a birdie on No. 6 before dropping strokes with bogeys on No. 8 and No. 9. Paolini, No. 18 in the Golfweek / Sagarin Rankings, returned to form on the back nine posting a five-under 31. He birdied No. 11 and No. 13 to climb back to two-over. Following a par on No. 14, Paolini sank a birdie putt No. 15, ran in a 20-footer from the fringe on No. 16 and chipped in from the back of the green on the challenging par 3 17th hole to slide all the way to one-under. He closed the round with a nice par save after an errant drive forced a layup on the par 5 18th hole.
"I started making some more committed swings on the back nine and gave myself some chances," said Paolini of his back nine surge. "I didn't have many good looks for birdies on the front, but on the back nine I had a lot of chances and was able to capitalized on a few of them. I really stayed patient throughout the round today. As a team, we fought through today. We are all going to have an off day at some point so today was huge for us to fight through and stay in the tournament. Obviously, Florida State had a great day today but we know we have a great day coming."
Suri also got off to a poor start with bogeys on Nos. 3-5. He bounced back with birdies on No. 6 and No. 9 before posting back-to-back birdies on No. 11 and No. 12 to get to one-under. Suri bogeyed the par 4 16th hole, but ended the round with a birdie on No. 18. With his 11th under-par round of the season, Suri moves into second at Duke with 46 career under-par rounds.
Soegaard posted five birdies and nine pars en route to his one-under 71. He opened with a birdie on No. 1 and made the turn at even-par with another birdie on No. 5 and bogeys on No. 3 and No. 8. Soegaard moved back under-par with a birdie on No. 10 after sticking his approach inside three feet. He added a birdie on the par 4 13th hole before bogeying No. 15. Soegaard hit a terrific iron inside 15 feet on the par 3 17th to move back to two-under but three-putted No. 18 to drop a stroke.
Junior Austin Cody posted a three-over 75 and is tied for 36th heading into tomorrow's action. He opened and closed Friday's round with birdies but could not get anything going in between.
Second round action of the ACC Men’s Golf Tournament begins at the Old North State Club on Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. with Boston College and Maryland teeing off from 8:30 through 9:02 am, followed by Clemson, NC State and North Carolina from 9:10 through 9:50. Virginia, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech will tee off from 10:10 a.m. through 10:50 a.m., followed by Duke, Virginia Tech and Florida State from 11:10 through 11:50.
Live scoring for the ACC Championship is available www.golfstat.com. The ACC Digital Network will provide live coverage from the tournament on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 2:30 p.m. at http://theacc.co/MGolfWatchLive
*** Duke's six-under 282 is tied for the program's eighth-best team round in ACC Championship play ... it is also the third-best opening round team score in school history.
*** Paolini has now shot even-par or better in seven of his 10 career rounds at Old North State Club.
*** Sumrall has posted for straight rounds of even-par or better golf in the ACC Championship.
*** Soegaard has 10 under-par rounds this season, second-most in the Duke freshmen record book.
*** Duke carded 15 birdies on the back nine after posting nine birdies on holes 1-9.
*** Paolini and Sumrall played bogey-free golf on the back nine ... The duo combined for 8 birdies on No. 10-18.