STILLWATER, OK - The Duke men's golf team is tied for 18th after posting a 15-over 303 on Tuesday in the opening round of the NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek Golf Club (par 72, 7.416 yards). Sophomore Brinson Paolini posted an even-par 72 to pace the Blue Devils.
"Unfortunately a few guys got off to a start that they weren't hoping for, but I am so proud of the guys for keeping their chins up and knowing that they are ready for this challenge," said head coach Jamie Green. "They kept themselves in the game and we are by no means out of this thing. The guys have played really well in second and third rounds this spring. They have had low rounds of the day, it may take that and it may not, but either way I know the guys will play well."
Paolini is tied for 19th after carding his team-leading sixth even-par round of the season. He got off to a strong start by playing holes No. 10-18 at three-under par. The Virginia Beach, Va., native birdied the par 3 11th hole and added another birdie on the par 3 15th hole to get to two-under. He added his third birdie of the day on the par 4 17th hole and made the turn at three-under. After the turn Paolini suffered bogeys on No. 3, No. 4 and No. 9 to finish with a 72 (E).
Tim Gornik shot a three-over 75 on Tuesday and is tied for 64th overall. He began the day with a triple-bogey on No. 10 but settled in with eight straight pars. He eagled the par 5 first hole to get to one-over on the round. He dropped a stroke with a bogey on No. 5 before posting a birdie on the par 3 seventh hole. The sophomore from Slovenia bogeyed the final two holes of the day to close a three-over.
Freshman Austin Cody posted a five-over 77 in the opening round. He suffered two bogeys and two double-bogeys on the opening nine hole to make the turn at six-over. The North Charleston, S.C., native suffered a bogey on the par 5 first hole to fall to seven-over before settling in. Cody carded birdies on No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 to fight back to four-over. After back-to-back bogeys, he posted a birdie on the par 3 seventh hole and closed par-par to cap off the round. Cody enters tomorrow's second round tied for 90th overall.
Wes Roach, a senior from Knoxville, Tenn., got off to a poor start with a triple-bogey on No. 10 and a double-bogey on No. 13. He bounced back with a birdie on the par 5 14th hole and carded four straight pars to make the turn at four-over. Roach had six pars and three bogeys on the front nine to post a seven-over 79 on the day. He is tied for 121st after one round of play.
Sophomore Julian Suri registered an eight-over 80 in the first round. He birdied three holes but also suffered a triple-bogey, double-bogey and six bogeys on the day. He is tied for 134th heading into the second round on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech holds the first round lead at shooting a five-under 283 on Tuesday. UCLA is three shots back with Alabama (E, 288), Texas A&M (+1, 289), Illinois (+3, 291), Georgia (+3, 291), Ohio State (+3, 291) and Oklahoma State (+4, 292) rounding out the top eight. The top eight teams following 54-holes of play advance on to match play. Duke enters the second round 11 shots outside of the top eight.
Duke begins second round play on Wednesday at 9:40 am on the first tee at Karsten Creek Golf Club. The Blue Devils will again be paired with Iowa and Michigan. Live scoring for the 2011 NCAA Championship is available at http://www.ncaa.com/content/division-i-mens-team-leaderboard.
"The course is gettable," added Green. "The fairways are perfect and there is plenty of room in those fairways. When the guys trust themselves and make their signature golf swings they are going to put themselves in position to make plenty of birdies."
*** Paolini is now tied for sixth at Duke with 13 career even-par rounds ... he is also tied for sixth in even-par rounds in a season with six in 2011.
*** Paolini now has 32 career rounds of even-par or better golf ... he ranks 12th at Duke in that category.
*** Roach is seventh at Duke with 45 career tournaments played ... he is 10th at Duke with 128 career rounds.
*** Gornik has shot 75 or better in 26 of 28 rounds played this season.