DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s golf team, ranked 15th in the initial Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Poll, open the 2013-14 season this weekend at Finley Golf Course (par 72, 7,242 yards) in the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. The Blue Devils fired an eight-under 856 (285-282-289) at last year’s event to claim the team title at the course in Chapel Hill.
“This is a great group of guys,” said head coach Jamie Green. “They have tremendous talent and also great energy. It has been a joy to see this at the start of the year so that is making getting tournament play started all the more fun. These guys are a great group to be around and they are having a lot of fun so it should be a terrific year.”
With the departure of four seniors from last year’s ACC Championship squad, head coach Jamie Green will field a team of new faces for the opening event of the season. Juniors Turner Southey-Gordon and Michael Ricaurte will be joined in the Blue Devil lineup by three newcomers in freshmen Andre Bieber, Max Greyserman and Alexander Matlari. Green’s most experienced returnees Austin Cody and Yaroslav Merkulov will compete in the event as individuals.
Southey-Gordon and Ricaurte have combined to play in 18 events over their first two years in Durham. Southey-Gordon posted a 72.3 stroke average a year ago while finishing in the top 20 in three of his four tournaments played.
The freshman trio of Bieber, Greyserman and Matlari enters its first collegiate tournament with some impressive credentials. Bieber is a two-time state champion and three-time all-state selection out of Ohio. He was named National High School Coaches Association Player of the Year as a senior. Greyserman is a three-time state champion out of New Jersey and a second team Rolex All-America in 2012, while Matlari, a member of the German Men’s National Team, is a four-time German National Junior Champion.
“Golf is golf. These guys have played at a high level in junior golf and there is a reason why we recruited them,” said Green of his freshmen class. ”They know how to play the game. They know how to manage their skills and perform. As long as they are focused on the golf course and their own personal game plans for each hole, I expect they will do well.”
Cody is Duke’s most experienced player having totaled 87 rounds over his first three seasons at Duke. The North Charleston, S.C., native has 21 under-par rounds in his career to go along with 12 top 20 finishes.
Merkulov opened his career with three top 20 finishes and a 73.1 stroke average in 2010-11. He has battled through a wrist injury over the past two years and is healthy entering his senior campaign.
The Tar Heel Intercollegiate opens Saturday with an 8:30 am shotgun start and 36 holes of continuous play. Sunday’s 18-hole final round begins with tee times off No. 1 and No. 10 at 7:30 am. Live scoring is available at www.golfstat.com.
The tournament field for the 2013 Tar Heel Intercollegiate includes Boston College, Davidson, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and VCU.
No. 4 Georgia Tech and No. 15 Duke are the lone participants ranked in the top 25 of the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Poll.
Last season, Duke won all four of its events in North Carolina capturing the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, Rod Myers Invitational, Wolfpack Spring Open and ACC Championship titles.