STANFORD, CA – The Duke men’s golf team, 13th in the latest Golfstat rankings, concludes its fall season with the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Calif., Oct. 29-30. The unique event features eight teams competing in a rare match-play format on one of the country's most famed courses.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for anybody who loves the game of golf to be able to play at Cypress Point,” said head coach Jamie Green. “Regardless of the competition, which we know is going to be fun with really strong players and teams, our guys are excited to be on the grounds and enjoy the opportunity.”
The Classic features six teams ranked in the top 20 of the Golfstat rankings; No. 6 Texas, No. 7 Southern California, No. 10 Georgia, No. 11 UCLA, No. 13 Duke, No. 20 Washington along with host Stanford and Michigan.
The first round of the tournament will be four-ball play, followed by foursomes and finally single matches in the final round. First round matchups, seeding determined by averaging Golfstat and Golfweek rankings, are Texas (1) vs. Michigan (8), Washington (2) vs. Stanford (7), USC (3) vs. (6) Duke and UCLA (4) vs. Georgia (5).
“At the end of the day, our guys are going to walk away from this with a great experience, which is what we want them to have when they come to college and play at Duke University,” added Green. “On top of that, they are going to have some exposure to different styles of play that open up their eyes to their teammates. When you play these formats in your backyard, that is one thing, but when you play alternate shot at a venue like Cypress Point in competition with some of the top teams in the country, you are really going to see what your teammates are made of. We are also excited for singles match play, because it is simulating the national championship. If you can walk away playing against some of these teams that we are going to see this week, and play some singles against some of them, I think it is great preparation for the end of the year.”
The Blue Devils are coming off a solid performance in the United States Collegiate Championship where they were able to rebound after a tough opening round. Duke played the final 36 holes at one-under to climb into a tie for sixth finish. Senior Julian Suri led the way for the Blue Devils firing a final-round 67 to finish 13th with a three-over par 219. Fellow seniors Brinson Paolini and Adam Sumrall finished at four-over and six-over, respectively, to earn top 30 finishes in the highly competitive tournament.
The format of the tournament is unlike the Blue Devils will play the rest of the year, and mimics that of the Ryder Cup, a bi-annual tournament in which the best 12 professional golfers from the United States compete against the best 12 golfers from Europe in a variety of formats. In the Stanford Classic, two Blue Devils will be teamed together for each day of competition. Suri and Paolini will represent the Blue Devils as the first team, while Sumrall and Austin Cody will follow behind in the second group. Mads Soegaard and Tim Gornik will be the third team for the Blue Devils.
Suri, a native of St. Augustine, Fla., leads the team this fall with a 71.5 stroke average. He has three top ten finishes on the season, including co-medalist honors at the Rod Myers Invitational. Suri , a 2012 third team All-America, ranks third at Duke with a 72.49 career stroke average. He is also tied for fourth with 40 career under-par rounds, including six this fall.
Paolini ranks second on the team with a 71.6 stroke average, owning two top 5 finishes and three top 20 showings overall. A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Paolini has five under-par rounds and two even-par rounds this season. He ranks second in Duke history with 20 even-par rounds and third with 57 rounds of even-par or better golf.
Sumrall has a 73.2 stroke average for the fall, earning his second career top ten finish after firing a four-under par 212 at the Rod Myers Invitational. Cody registered a top 10 finish at the Rod Myers Invitational and enters the event with a 74.4 stroke average.
Gornik owns a 73.8 stroke average, including a 69 in the final round of the Rod Myers Invitational. He also tied for 19th at four-under at the World Team Amateur Championship in Antalya, Turkey, Soegaard, out of Jylland, Denmark, owns a 72.9 stroke average while tallying two top-ten finishes including a tied for fourth at the Tar Heel Invitational.
“A couple of our players have done that before, Mads Soegaard being from Denmark plays a little bit more match-play, and Tim Gornik who played for Slovenia on those national teams, that is a little more up their alley,” said Green. “Both of those guys are in our six-man lineup and we are hoping that some of their expertise will help out. We decided to have them play together, and we really think they will be a strong pair because of their experience. ”
Cypress Point was ranked No. 2 in Golf Magazine's 2011 list of Best Courses in America, and was one of three courses used in the Crosby/AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for 1947-1991. Since leaving the AT&T Pro-Am rotation in 1991 only member events have been held with the exception of a match between Davis Love, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler and Nick Watney in October of 2012 that was supposed to be a recreation of "The Match".
Follow the Duke men’s golf team on Twitter @Duke_MGolf.
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