DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men's golf team, ranked 21st in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I College Preseason Coaches' Poll, opens its season this weekend at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. The 54-hole event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils will field a lineup of seniors Brinson Paolini, Adam Sumrall and Julian Suri along with junior Austin Cody and freshman Motin Yeung. Senior Tim Gornik, sophomore Michael Ricaurte and freshman Mads Soegaard will also compete as individuals.
"We are really looking forward to getting the ball rolling," said head coach Jamie Green. "It is going to be exciting to put that much experience out on the golf course representing Duke. Four seniors are going to be out there playing, a couple of All-Americans, a couple of guys who have won college tournaments. I know they are excited to see what they can accomplish this year."
Paolini and Suri have both earned All-America and All-ACC honors during their careers. The tandem has combined for 16 top 5, 25 top 10 and 37 top 20 finishes over the last three seasons. Suri has amassed 35 career under-par rounds, while Paolini has 32 sub-par efforts in his career. Both players a scattered throughout the Duke record books, including career stroke average with Paolini second (72.38) and Suri ranking third (72.61), respectively.
Sumrall is coming off his best season a year ago, posting four top 20 finishes and a 73.4 stroke average. Cody finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 73.3 stroke average and five top 20 finishes. Yeung, a highly touted freshman originally from Beijing, China, is playing in his first collegiate event as is fellow freshman standout Sogaard. Gornik has played 57 career rounds and has a 73.4 stroke average with eight top 20 finishes, while Ricaurte played in four events for a total of 11 rounds last season.
"We definitely have some young guys that are playing very well," said Green. "At the same time, when you get into this senior laden team they are going to know their way around, they are going to know the lay of the land when it comes to college golf. They prepare well, they get ready for golf tournaments well. The good thing about it is that you can only control what you are doing in preparation and what you are doing on the golf course yourselves, but even in that concept they have been able to get stronger and stronger and move up the leaderboard. So I know they are looking to control what they can control and see how it will come out in the end."
Duke will be joined in the Tar Heel Intercollegiate field by Boston College, Charlotte, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Furman, Gardner Webb, Maryland, N.C. State, North Carolina, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Note Dame and Virginia Commonwealth.
Finley Golf Course, a Tom Fazio designed facility, will play as a 7,091-yard, par 72 for the event. The tournament format features 36-holes of continuous play on Saturday beginning with a 8:20 a.m. start time for the Blue Devils. Sunday's 18-hole final round will begin at 7:40 a.m. with pairings determined by the team standings after 36-holes of play.
"It actually takes a little different mindset," said Green of opening the season with a local event. "You are used to traveling, you may get a little fatigue on the road, but the reality is that you are kind of used to being together as a group, traveling in the team van with the food, the hotel and all those sort of situations. We made the decision to stay on campus. We are going to drive back and forth together, but they can sleep in their own bed, have some food that is familiar. When they compete here locally, the team can get into a pretty good rhythm. So we are hoping that just traveling eight miles down the road here that they can get into that same kind of rhythm and play really well."
Live scoring, tee times, pairings and statistics for the Tar Heel Intercollegiate are available www.golfstat.com.