PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The Duke men's golf team, 13th in the latest Golfstat rankings, reached the finals of the Stanford Classic after posting wins over third-seed USC (four-ball) and seventh-seed Stanford (foursomes - alternate shot) at Cypress Point CC on Monday. The Stanford Classic is a unique event with eight teams competing in a rare match-play format on one of the country's most famed courses.
"It was on unbelievable effort out there today from everybody," said senior Julian Suri. "Brinson and I finished awesome this morning to grind it out and so did Austin and Adam. While we struggled a bit this afternoon it ended up not mattering because our guys went to work in the first two matches and had really dominating performances."
In the morning session, a four-ball or best-ball format, Duke dominated play en route to 9.5 to 2.5 win over Southern Cal. Senior Tim Gornik partnered with freshman Mads Soegaard for a commanding 4-0 win over Sam Smith and Stewart Hagestad. Seniors Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini captured their match by a 3.5 to 0.5 margin, while senior Adam Sumerall and junior Austin Cody split their match 2-2.
The Blue Devils excelled on the back nine of the morning session claiming all three points, after making the turn tied up 1 1.5 to 1.5. Duke also claimed five of the possible six points in overall 18-hole scoring.
The afternoon match with Stanford was an alternate shot format with Duke coming away with a 7.5 to 4.5 victory. Sumrall and Cody paved the way with a four-point effort against Steven Kearney and Dominick Franks. Gornik and Soegaard also continued their outstanding play with a 3.5 to 0.5 edge in their match. Suri and Paolini struggled in the afternoon but it did not matter as the Blue Devil dominated play in the other two matches.
UCLA advanced to the final match with an 8.5 to 3.5 four-ball win over Georgia and a 6.5 to 5.5 win over top-seed Texas in foursomes.
The final round of the Stanford Classic will be individual matches (match-play), mirroring how the NCAA Team Championship is determined. Duke has had a lot of match-play success, posting an 11-2 record in that format, over the past three seasons. The Blue Devils topped UCLA, 3-1-1, in the opening round of match play at the 2011 NCAA Championship.
"This experience is almost surreal," said Suri. "The course is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and sometimes it is hard not to get caught up in the scenery. It has an immense amount of history and to be a part of something like this is really special. We are looking forward to getting back out there and playing for the title tomorrow.
Duke has a pair of tournament victories this fall, claiming titles at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate and the Rod Myers Invitational. Head coach Jamie Green has collected 24 career tournament wins, including seven at Duke since the spring of 2009.