Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke University Golf Club. Junior Julian Suri shot the low round of the tournament with a four-under 68 to pace the Blue Devils on Sunday and claim medalist honors for the tournament. The Blue Devils posted a three-under 861 overall for a nine-shot victory, while Suri fired a five-under 211 to finish two shots better than Iowa's Steven Ihm.DURHAM, N.C. - Duke fired the only under-par round of the day with a two-under 286 to overcome a two-stroke deficit and win the 2011
"You can't say enough about Julian's round out there today," said head coach Jamie Green. "The other guys played really well too, but certainly Julian's tournament was a great win for him and us."
Duke, Charlotte and Baylor engaged in a back and forth battle over the first six holes of the day with the tournament lead seeming to change on a hole-by-hole basis. The Blue Devils began creating some separation on the closed three holes of the front nine before breaking things open after the turn. The Duke lineup carded 11 birdies on Nos. 6-11 with the par 5 11th hole proving to be a big swinging point in the tournament. Duke's counting players played the hole at four-under with all four players carding birdies, while Baylor and Charlotte both played the hole at even-par.
"There's a stretch in there where you get a few par 5s together and then one or two really challenging shots - the par-3 12th that's kind of our little Amen Corner at Duke," added Green. "We made birdies on nine, made a bunch of birdies on No. 11 and then hit really solid shots on No. 12. Once you get through there, it's just kind of smart sailing from then on. That's sort of where we ended up separating."
The Blue Devils victory was their 10th overall in a home event at the Duke University Golf Club. Baylor finished second with a six-over 870 and was followed by Charlotte (+8, 872), Iowa (+19, 883) and Tulsa (+22, 886). Michigan was in sixth place with an 899 (+35) with Tennessee (+37, 901), East Tennessee State (+44, 908), Coastal Carolina (+45, 909), North Carolina (+45, 909) and Georgia Southern (+55, 919) rounding out the leaderboard.
Suri led the Duke charge with five birdies in the six-hole stretch. After suffering a bogey on No. 5, he birdied No. 6 (par 4) and No. 7 (par 5) to get to one-under on the day. He added a birdie on the par 5 ninth hole and moved atop the leaderboard with birdies on No. 10 (par 4) and No. 11 (par 5). Suri went to five-under on the day with a birdie on the par 5 14th hole but suffered a bogey on No. 17. The St. Augustine, Fla., native bounced back with a par on No. 18 to secure his first career collegiate victory and Duke's first medalist honors at a home tournament since John Karcher won the 1988 John Ryan Memorial. Suri posted rounds of 70-73-68 for a five-under 211. He now has 21 career rounds of under-par golf, including 10 rounds in the 60s.
Suri's middle round charge pushed him ahead of Ihm who led after two rounds of play and his steady play down the stretch secured the two-shot victory. Joakim Mikkelsen (Baylor) finished third with a one-under 215, with Paolini and Raoul Menard (Charlotte) rounding out the top 5 at even-par.
"It feels awesome to get the team win and also an individual title," said Suri. "It's been a lot of hard work, especially the last year, year and a half. I went through some tough times, golf-wise, but I just kept working on it and had a lot of support from my family, the coaches, the rest of the guys on the team, and couldn't have done it without them. So it feels really good and I'm just ready to get back out there now."
The Blue Devils also received outstanding play from juniors Brinson Paolini and Tim Gornik as well as senior Spencer Anderson. All three players joined Suri with top 10 finishes. Paolini fired an even-par 216 (72-70-74) to finish tied for fourth, while Gornik and Anderson placed tied for sixth and tied for 10th respectively.
Paolini finished the tournament with 35 pars and 10 birdies for his ninth career top 5 finish. He was tied for second in the tournament in par 5 scoring at seven-under. Gornik posted rounds of 71, 74 and 72 en route to his second career top 10 showing. The Ljubljana, Slovenia, native had 11 birdies and 33 pars for the tournament.
Anderson shot 72, 74, 72 for a two-over 218 and his second top 20 finish of the season. He led the tournament in par 5 scoring at eight-under and has now shot 72 or better in six of his last nine rounds played. On Sunday, Anderson battled back from a bogey-bogey start and got into red figures with birdies on No. 7, No. 11 and No. 14. He suffered a bogey on the final hole of the day for his second even-par round of the tournament.
Sophomore Austin Cody battled the windy conditions throughout the day en route to a three-over 75 and a top 20 finish overall. He finished with a seven-over 223 with rounds of 75, 73 and 75.
Junior Adam Sumrall, playing as an individual, finished tied for 21st with an eight-over 224. He got to a slow start with a five-over 41 on the back nine but used birdies on No. 8 and No. 9 to close the day with a three-over 75. Sophomore Yaroslav Merkulov posted rounds of 72, 77 and 76 to place tied for 24th with a nine-over 225.
Freshmen Turner Southey-Gordon and Michael Ricaurte also played as individuals in the event finishing tied for 45th and tied for 57th, respectively. Southey-Gordon shot a 231 (75-76-80), while Ricaurte posted a 238 (80-80-78).
Complete results, statistics and exclusive videos of the 2011 Rod Myers Invitational are available at www.goduke.com/rmi.
The Blue Devils return to action Oct. 9-11 at The Prestige at PGA West in Palm Desert, Calif.
*** Suri became the first Duke player to win a tournament since Adam Long won the N.C. State Wolfpack Intercollegiate during the 2009-10 season.
*** Suri's closing round 68 was one of three rounds in the 60s for the tournament.
*** Suri and Ihm were the only two players with more than one under-par round in the tournament.
*** Head coach Jamie Green now has 22 career tournament wins, including five wins in his 24 tournaments at Duke.
Duke Head Coach Jamie Green
On how the course played:
"The golf course played a little differently per round. It was mostly because of the wind - the wind was quartering and blowing a good 15 miles per hour each round. When you've got to deal with wind coming sideways and then these tall trees in the Duke Forest, sometimes you look at one flag and it's going one way, and you look at another flag and it's going the other way. Our guys were smart about it. They remained committed, they were calm and they hit good golf shots."
On having the tournament at the Duke University Golf Course:
"We try to highlight this golf course and showcase it because we really think it's a special place to play, practice and host an event. We hope to bring back NCAA's here at some point, but more than that, every fall, we hope these teams come back and have a great time and enjoy the test that Duke University Golf Club is. But for Rod to have his name on it, and to have Nancy and the family right here, and to be able to support it and continue - not just year after year but decade by decade - what Rod meant for the program, it means an awful lot for us to be able to play well during that week."
On Julian Suri bouncing back after a rocky finish on Saturday:
"That's what he and I talked about yesterday - you're going to have a bounce here and there, a rough stretch. More importantly, what did you do well? And he recognized that he was patient, he recognized that he stayed committed to his tee shots. When he's those two things, he's hard to beat. He's a very good player. So I think he recognized what he did well in those 36 holes yesterday, even if a little clump right at the end wasn't the way he wanted to be. If you just look at 36 holes in total, he's still right there in contention and he knew that. He had the right frame of mind out there today, put the pedal down and luckily he started to separate."
Duke Junior Julian Suri
On his mindset in the final round:
"It was just a lot of staying patient out there. One shot at a time, and if you have a bad hole or a bad shot, just totally forgetting about it and moving on to the next one and really trusting that you can do anything you want with it if you try hard enough."
On bouncing back after a tough close to the second round:
"I kind of pride myself on being pretty resilient, and I think coming out of yesterday, I thought it was just a little bit of mental fatigue. It had been a really long day with tough conditions, and I kind of just let myself go a little bit on those last couple holes. But coming off of yesterday, I really focused on the positives, and for 30, 31 holes, I played awesome golf. I was leading the tournament. So it was disappointing not to have the lead going into today, but I knew that I had been playing awesome. I just needed to keep doing what I was doing and things would take care of themselves."
On winning the tournament at Duke's home course:
"It feels kind of fitting, how it should be. This is really cool winning our home course. I know last year was a little disappointing, but this year is really satisfying. We put in a lot of work. The grounds crew put in tons of work to get this course back in shape after a rough summer, and we've all worked hard too - the coaches and the players. It's good to see it pay off."