"I got off to a pretty steady start with some pars and told myself to keep at it and the good stuff would come," said Suri. "I got into a pretty good rhythm doing that and just told myself to try to birdie every hole and not get ahead of myself. It worked out pretty well and I'm looking to go into tomorrow with the same patient but aggressive attitude that I had today."
California posted an 18-under 270 to grab the first round lead by four shots over New Mexico (-14, 274). UNLV is third at 10-under (278) and followed by Duke and SMU at six-under 282. Colorado State, Nevada and Missouri also posted under-par rounds and are tied for sixth at one-under 287.
Suri enters the second round of play with a one shot lead over James Erkenbeck (New Mexico), Max Homa (California) and Joel Stalter (California). Duke's Austin Cody posted a five-under 67 and is tied for fifth along with UNLV's Kevin Penner. Cody is competing as an individual in the event.
"Julian walked with a lot of confidence and had a relaxed state of mind and was very comfortable in his play," said head coach Jamie Green. "To stay in that same frame of mind speaks volumes for the kind of player that he is and the way he is playing this year."
With Duke opening on the back nine at the Palmer Course, Suri rattled off six straight pars to begin the round. The St. Augustine, Fla., native caught fire at that point and ripped off birdies on No. 16, No. 17 and No. 18 to make the turn at three-under. He continued to attack the course with birdies on No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 to climb atop the leaderboard. Suri's six-hole birdie string came to a close with a par on No. 4. He added pars on each of the next three holes before collecting his seventh birdie of the day on the par 3 eighth hole. He closed with a par on No. 9 to cap off his team-leading ninth under-par round of the season.
Cody also played bogey-free golf in the opening round. He opened on the back nine as well and made the turn at two-under after birdies on No. 12 and No. 16. Cody added a birdie on No. 2 to get to three-under before posting five straight pars. He used birdies on No. 8 and No. 9 to climb up the leaderboard and end the day tied for fifth overall.
Junior Brinson Paolini is tied for 12th after carding a three-under 69 on Wednesday. He recorded nine straight pars to open the day before posting a birdie on the par 4 first hole. The Virginia Beach, Va., native suffered his lone bogey of the day on No. 3 before playing the final six holes at three-under with birdies on No. 5, No. 7 and No. 9. Paolini now has seven under-par rounds on the season, including four rounds in the 60s.
"Brinson had a couple of strange shots to try to navigate early in the round," said Green. "He made some really good decisions early on and made a bunch of pars and that allowed him to get into position to finish really well."
Junior Tim Gornik and sophomore Yaroslav Merkulov each fired two-over 74s and are tied for 49th after one round of play. Gornik played the back nine at even-par with five pars, two birdies and two bogeys. He suffered a triple-bogey on the par 5 third hole before bouncing back with five straight pars and a birdie on the par 5 ninth hole.
Merkulov also played the back nine at even-par with five pars, two birdies and two bogeys. He stumbled after the turn with a double-bogey on No. 1 and a bogey on No. 2. The Penfield, N.Y., native recovered with six consecutive pars and a birdie on No. 9 to close out the round.
Freshman Michael Ricaurte shot a 10-over 82 in the opening round. He got off to a slow start and played the opening seven holes at eight-over. Ricaurte had his highlight of the round with an eagle on the 452-yard, par 4 17th hole. Following a double-bogey and two more bogeys, he closed out the day with seven straight pars.
The Blue Devils open second round play on Thursday at 2:20 pm (ET) on the front nine at the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay. Duke will be paired with Colorado State and UTEP with live scoring available at www.golfstat.com.