DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team returns to Old North State Club (par 72, 7,102 yards) in New London, N.C., this weekend (April 25-27) for the 61st annual ACC Championship. The Blue Devils have finished in the top three of the ACC Championship in five of the past six seasons at the venue, including last year's ACC title run.
“Our game is a lot about confidence. You don’t just get confidence, you have to earn it and have to spend the time out there seeing yourself experience success,” said head coach Jamie Green. “What our guys are seeing, little by little toward the end of the season, are those glimpses of success in practice and in competition that are building up their confidence. I am excited for these guys and I know 80 percent of the lineup haven’t seen the golf course, but we are on a trend where they are paying attention and getting better at the little things. You can throw rankings out the window, and it doesn’t matter what we did for the rest of the year. You can win the championship and head onto regionals.”
Duke enters as the defending champion and will try to repeat against a field that features four teams ranked in the top 20 nationally: No. 5 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Virginia, No. 12 Virginia Tech, and No. 19 Florida State. Clemson is No. 33, followed by No. 37 Wake Forest, No. 86 Duke, No. 92 North Carolina, No. 102 NC State, No. 104 Notre Dame, No. 139 Maryland and No. 212 Boston College.
Sophomore Motin Yeung continues to anchor the top spot in the Duke lineup. The Beijing native leads the Blue Devils in stroke average (73.4), under-par rounds (7), even-par rounds (5), rounds in the 60s (3), top 20 finishes (4), top 10 finishes (2), top 5 finishes (1), rounds counted (23) and sub-par strokes per round (3.50). Yeung’s top showing this season was a third place finish at The Farms Collegiate Invitational.
Alexander Matlari and Max Greyserman will play out of the No. 2 and No. 3 slots in the lineup for the Blue Devils. The tandem owns matching 74.8 stroke averages with four combined top 20 finishes. Matlari, a freshman from Germany, shares the team lead with five even-par rounds to go along with four under-par efforts. Greyserman, a freshman from New Jersey, is tied for second on the team with four under-par rounds. He finished 20th at the Irish Creek Collegiate and added a tie for 26th finish at the rain-shortened Wolfpack Spring Open last weekend.
“Thursday is an important day for us to take good notes and have a game plan set for each guy so he can be successful right out of the gate,” said Green. “Four of our guys don’t know the golf course at all and have never played it. The good thing about these new players is they are all ears. They want to get better; they are listening and are paying attention.“
Junior Turner Southey-Gordon is coming off a tie for fourth finish at the Wolfpack Spring Open and enters the ACC Championship with a 75.3 stroke average. He leads the team in pars per round at 11.09, while sharing the team lead, along with Matlari and Greyserman, with 28 rounds played.
“Turner is coming of off a top 5 finish and although it was just a one round shootout, it was still was one of the most challenging conditions we have seen with only a couple of guys able to shot under par,” Green added. “He finished well, playing at two-under in the last 6 holes.”
Austin Cody, a senior from North Charleston, S.C., rounds out the final spot in the Blue Devil lineup. After struggling in the fall, he has recovered in April to post a pair of top 20 finishes, including a tied for 12th at the Irish Creek Collegiate. Cody has a 72.6 stroke average over his last five rounds and is the lone Blue Devil in the lineup with previous playing experience at Old North State Club.
“Austin knows this golf course and was very influential over the last nine holes in the final round last year,” Green said. “He has been a catalyst for a lot of our team wins for the past three and a half years for this program. He comes into this golf tournament excited and hungry with a lot of history that gives him confidence. That success from last year gives him confidence to play. From the team perspective, he’s also a guy that has been playing well going into the event. He has finished in the top 20 a couple of times, and anytime you have recent success it is just another reason to walk in there with a little more confidence.“
Cody has played in each of the past two ACC Championships for Duke, finishing tied for 17th a year ago with a one-under 215. He has posted an under-par score in three of his last four rounds at Old North State Club and has a 72.7 stroke average overall at the venue.
Duke will be paired with North Carolina and NC State for Friday’s opening round with play beginning off No. 1 at 9:20 a.m. Live scoring for the event is available at www.golfstat.com. Saturday and Sunday action will be streamed live by the ACC Digital Network starting at 2 p.m. each day.
For more information, please visit the ACC Men’s Golf Championship website at: http://theacc.co/MGolfchamp.
“Everyone wants to win the ACC championship,” Green concluded. “It is one of the real memorable experiences for all the guys that graduate. All of our events are great, but this one just has an air of excellence. The way they run the event, the way the club and the staff treat the players. You just walk on the grounds and get the feeling this is an elite conference and an elite championship. Knowing that they will have the course as primed and ready as it can be, the guys are going to have some butterflies because they are excited and love representing Duke. As much as anything, the excitement is going to turn into really smart decisions because they are really listening right now.”
Duke at Old North State Club • This year marks the 13th consecutive season and the 18th time overall that the ACC Championship will be played at Old North State Club. • Duke has won two league titles at Old North State Club, including the conference championship in 2013. The Blue Devils shot a school-record 25-under 839 a year ago to claim its first title since 2005. • Duke carded its lowest round in ACC Championship history last year with a second round 273 (-15) at Old North State Club. • The Blue Devils have registered nine of their 10 lowest 18-hole scores in ACC Championship history at the course. • Six of Duke’s eight lowest team 54-hole totals in ACC Championship history have come at Old North State Club. • The Blue Devils have finished under-par in seven straight ACC Championships at the course. • Duke has shot under-par in 15 of its last 21 rounds at Old North State Club. • A Blue Devil golfer has shot 68 or better 16 times at Old North State Club, including four rounds at 68 or better a year ago. • The Blue Devils have carded 78 under-par rounds, including 34 rounds in the 60s, at Old North State Club in the previous 17 trips to the course. • Over the past six ACC Championships in New London, N.C., Duke has posted 44 under-par rounds with 21 rounds in the 60s.