DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke freshmen Brinson Paolini and Adam Sumrall each posted a top five finish at the Gordin-Myers Collegiate Classic presented by Coca-Cola, while Methodist University grabbed the Division III team title at the event. Paolini shot a one-over 73 to finish second at 217 (+1), while Sumrall fired an even-par 72 at the Duke University Golf Club on Tuesday to place fifth with a +3, 219.
Paolini battled N.C. State's Kent Copeland throughout the final round before coming up just short. He entered the day one shot behind second round leader Copeland. Paolini opened with three straight pars on Tuesday before suffering a bogey on No. 4 to slip to one-over. He rebounded with birdies on No. 5 and No. 9 to make the turn at one-under and grab the tournament lead over Copeland by one stroke.
Copeland countered with birdies on No. 10, No. 12 and No. 14 to regain the lead. Paolini suffered a double-bogey on the par 3 12th, but responded with a birdie on No. 14 to stay within reach of the lead. The Virginia Beach, Va., native carded a bogey on No. 15 to fall three strokes back with three holes remaining before making a late charge.
With Copeland recording bogeys on No. 16 and No. 17, Paolini birdied the 395-yard, par 4 16th hole and parred No. 17 to move into a tie for first. Copeland, a veteran of the N.C. State lineup, recovered to birdie the challenging closing hole to claim in the individual crown by two strokes over Paolini, who bogeyed No. 18.
"It was nice to get out there and be in the heat of the competition," Paolini said. "It was great to have the support of everybody out here and it was a great start to the season. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come."
Charlotte's Will Golden and Methodist's Josh Schrader were also in the mix for the individual crown but could never quite pull even with Copeland and Paolini in the final round. They finished tied for third with two-over 218s. Sumrall recovered from a slow start to place fifth overall.
Sumrall played his opening five holes at two-over with three bogeys, a par and a birdie (No. 4) prior to settling down in the third round. The South Bend, Ind., native carded two birdies (No. 7 & No. 14) and 13 pars over the remainder of the round for an even-par 72. He closed the Gordin-Myers Collegiate Classic with a tournament-high 39 pars.
"Today was a little nerve-racking starting off," Sumrall said. "This was a nice way to break in the season on our home course. The course was in great condition, the greens were a lot faster and firmer."
Freshman Julian Suri carded a seven-over 79 in the final round to finish tied for 17th with a 12-over 228, while freshman Tim Gornik placed tied for 22nd with a +14, 230 after firing an 80 on Tuesday.
"For the first time out for our four freshman, I think it is great exposure to college golf," head coach Jamie Green said. "Brinson certainly played solid all week. He really struck the ball from tee to green and he had a chance to win this golf tournament on the last hole. Adam had a really nice round today. He struck the ball well and made some putts coming in."
"I know Tim and Julian would have liked to have a stronger finish," Green added. "There will be a little bit of a learning curve, we will talk about the round and see how they felt. The course setup was pretty challenging and the hole locations were demanding. You had to hit quality golf shots, know how far you were hitting it and how you were spinning them."
Methodist University shot a one-over 289 in the final round to run away with the Division III team title. Methodist closed the event with a 16-over 880 to win the event by 31 strokes over second place Huntingdon College (+47, 911). Skidmore College finished third with a +48, 912, while Oglethorpe University (+54, 918) and the University of La Verne (+72, 936) rounded out the top five.
"Methodist had a dominating, outstanding performance," Green said. "They have had a lot of good players come through their program and today they showed no different."
Schrader, Alex Weir, Trey Howell and Liam Fredman each finished in the top 10 individual for Methodist. Skidmore's Matt Canavan and Joseph Flowers also posted top 10 finishes for the tournament.
Duke will compete in its first team event Oct. 16-18 at the Bank of Tennessee at the Ridges.