DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men's golf team returns to action this weekend (April 20-22) at the 2012 ACC Men's Golf Championship at the Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point (par 72. 7,102 yards). The Blue Devils, seeking the seventh ACC Championship in program history, have one tournament win and five runner-up finishes this season.
"Players on all these teams look forward to this event all year long. Everyone does a tremendous job of making it feel like one of the best championships in the country, so that's going to be an exciting thing for our guys and I know they're really eager to get out there," said head coach Jamie Green. "Our practices the past two weeks have been outstanding. They're preparation has been as detailed and as focused as I've ever seen it, so that's going to be a neat thing for us to show up at the golf course with."
The Blue Devils, ranked 15th in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Poll, are coming off a tie for second finish at the River Landing Intercollegiate. Duke has now finished second or tied for second in three consecutive events and in five of the last six tournaments.
Duke's lineup for the ACC Championship will consist of Julian Suri, Brinson Paolini, Spencer Anderson, Austin Cody and Adam Sumrall. Paolini, a junior from Virginia Beach, Va., has posted under-par scores in four of his six rounds at Old North State Club and has a 68.5 stroke average with a pair of top 5 finishes in ACC Championship play at the course. Suri has also played in the last two ACC Championship at Old North State Club, finishing tied for third last year with a seven-under 209. Anderson was a member of the Duke lineup for the 2010 ACC Championship and finished tied for 36th with a seven-over 223.
"We've got a mix of experience out there," added Green. "Julian and Brinson have played this event, have both had success on this course, and contended to win the championship, so that's obviously going to be a benefit for us to know they're out there playing. The other guys, maybe not as many competitive rounds out there at Old North State, but they've all seen the golf course. All those guys have been out there to watch and support our team, so they know the course and the lay of the land. It'll be an exciting for them to be in the environment that is the ACC Championship."
Suri, ninth overall in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, leads the ACC with a 70.6 stroke average with 15 rounds of under-par golf and eight rounds in the 60s. The St. Augustine, Fla., native has two tournament wins, five top 5 and six top 10 finishes this season. He has finished seven of Duke's nine stroke-play tournaments under-par and has shot even-par or better in 10 of 12 rounds this spring.
Paolini, who is coming off his first career individual medalist honors at the River Landing Intercollegiate, is tied for second on the team with a 72.3 stroke average. He has fired 11 rounds of under-par golf and has three top 5 finishes this season. He has a 71.8 stroke average in four spring events and has five under-par rounds in that stretch. Paolini ranks second in the Duke record books with a 72.29 career stroke average.
Anderson, a senior from California, also has a 72.3 stroke average to go along with eight rounds of under-par golf. He is coming off a tie for 13th place at the River Landing Intercollegiate with a six-under 66 in the final round of the event. Anderson is tied for second on the team with five top 20 finishes and has posted a counting team score in all 18 rounds as a member of the Duke lineup.
Cody owns a 73.2 stroke average with a pair of top 10 and five top 20 finishes on the year. He posted an even-par 216 to tie for 19th at the River Landing Intercollegiate in Duke's last event. Sumrall, a junior from South Bend, Ind., boasts a 73.9 stroke average with two top 20 finishes. He was been a member of the lineup in each of the last two tournaments and has posted a counting team score in five of the last six rounds of golf.
"The goal is to go out and do well. That's what we've work hard for all year," said Paolini. "I think last year we really started this legacy, that we're a force to be reckoned with and what we've been able to do the last couple of years, people are starting to realize that our team is going to contend."
Old North State Club will host the ACC Championship for its 11th consecutive year. Duke captured its last ACC Championship at Old North State Club in 2005. The Blue Devils have had 11 individuals (16 times) finish in the top 10 at the course, including ACC Individual Champions Matt Krauss (1999) and Ryan Blaum (2005).
Duke carded its lowest round in ACC Tournament history with a final round 277 (-11) at Old North State Club in 2004. The Blue Devils have registered 15 of their 20 lowest 18-hole scores in ACC Championship history at the course. Five of Duke's seven lowest team 54-hole totals in ACC Championship history have come at Old North State Club. The Blue Devils have finished under-par in five straight ACC Championships at the course. As a team, Duke has shot under-par in 11 of its last 15 rounds at Old North State Club.
"We're going to prepare the best we can, the guys will do the best they can each day to be in the right frame of mind and to attack that golf course in the ways that their game will be suited to be successful," stated Green. "There are five top 25 teams at the ACC Championship, so the competition is strong and we're just hoping that we're right there at the end of the weekend."
Duke opens play on Friday, April 20 at 9:10 a.m. on the front side of Old North State Club. The Blue Devils are paired with Maryland and Virginia for the first round of play. Live scoring for the event is available at http://www.theacc.com/championships/12-mens-golf-championship.html. Live streaming will also be available on Saturday and Sunday at www.ACC.com.