DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men's golf team, winners of a pair of fall tournaments, open the spring season Feb. 24-26 at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Duke is one of 10 teams in the top 50 of the latest Golfweek rankings competing in the 54-hole tournament at the par 72, 6,910 yard Sawgrass Country Club.
Joining the ninth-ranked Blue Devils in the tournament field are No. 7 Florida, No. 12 LSU, No. 16 Arkansas, No. 26 Tennessee, No. 29 North Florida, No. 32 Tulsa, No. 37 North Texas, No. 46 Coastal Carolina, No. 49 Central Florida, UAB, Furman, Jacksonville and Mercer.
Six Blue Devils will be in action at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational with a five-man team lineup and one individual in the field. Head coach Jamie Green will determine the Duke lineup prior to Saturday's practice round.
"It will be a strong test of golf at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational at Sawgrass Country Club," said Green. "It is a great place to start the season in a lot of different ways. The course and conditions will certainly exposes anything in someone's golf game that might not be as sharp. The wind will always blow and you get different kinds of winds at different times of the day. There is a great mix of tree-bound holes and ones on the water so it will be a test of patience for the players and teams."
Senior Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini anchored the Duke lineup throughout the fall with both players finishing in the top 20 in all four fall events. Suri leads the team with a 71.5 stroke average and six under-par rounds of golf. He also shares the team lead, along with Paolini, with three top 10 finishes including a tie for first at the Rod Myers Invitational. Paolini boasts a 71.6 stroke average with seven rounds of even-par or better golf. He enters the event 21st in the Golfweek Individual Rankings.
Freshman Mads Soegaard is third on the team with a 72.9 stroke average and a pair of top 10 finishes. The Denmark native has five under-par rounds in four events this season. Senior Adam Sumrall also had a pair of top 20 finishes in the fall and owns a 73.2 stroke average.
Junior Austin Cody and sophomore Michael Ricaurte will also be pushing for a spot in the lineup this weekend. Cody tied for 10th at the Rod Myers Invitational in October and has a 74.4 stroke average. Ricaurte played in two events this fall and enters the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational with a 77.7 stroke average.
Play at the event begins with 18 holes on Sunday followed by second and third rounds on Monday and Tuesday. Tee times as well as live scoring for the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational will be available at www.golfstat.com. You can also get updates via Twitter @Duke_MGolf.
"It is great to bring Julian back home for this event," Green added. "He is excited to compete this close to his home. He has been a big name and a popular personality for a lot of years in the Jacksonville / Ponte Vedra area."