KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team, ranked 17th in the Golfstat ratings, fired a one-under 567 on Saturday to sit in third place at the Irish Creek Collegiate after 36 holes of play. The Blue Devils posted an even-par 284 in the opening round at The Club at Irish Creek (par 71, 7,099 yards) before carding a one-under 283 in the afternoon round.
"It was a long day but the guys finished well and that was obviously a good thing to see," said head coach Jamie Green. "To be able to stay focused and hit some really good golf shots and make some putts coming in was obviously a big deal and will be good for morale heading into the final round."
Kent State holds the 36-hole lead with a 15-under 553, including an 11-under 273 during the second round. Mercer shot 285-280=565 (-3) and is second, two shots better than Duke. Charlotte sits in third with a three-over 571, while Michigan State is fifth at five-over (573).
Xavier's Sebastian MacLean has the individual lead with an eight-under 134. He fired rounds of 68-66 to hold a two-shot lead over James Beale (Mercer) and Mackenzie Hughes (Kent State). Duke junior Julian Suri is among a group of five players currently tied for fourth at five-under.
Suri continued his outstanding play with a five-under 137 on Saturday to enter tomorrow's final round tied for fourth. In the opening round, he carded six birdies, 11 pars and one bogey en route to a five-under 66. The St. Augustine, Fla., native added five more birdies in the afternoon but suffered a bogey and a pair of double-bogeys for an even-par 71. Suri has now shot even-par or better in 11 of the last 14 rounds (nine under-par rounds).
"Julian's play was the same as it has been all semester and all year. He has played fantastic golf," added Green. "He is in a great frame of mind, hitting terrific shots and utilizing a terrific short game. He was really not feeling well all day, so to go through that long of a day, gut it out and birdie the last two holes of the day says an awful lot about where his game is. He is dealing with some fatigue but hopefully he can get some rest tonight and get out there tomorrow to contend for that championship."
Austin Cody is tied for 22nd with a one-over 143 after the first day of play. The North Charleston, S.C., native got off to a strong start in round one with seven pars and two birdies over the first nine holes of play. He suffered a double-bogey and bogey on his final nine holes of the round to close out the morning session with a one-over 72. Cody began the second round with a bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie start. He slipped to one-over with a bogey on No. 10 before moving into red figures with an eagle on the par 5 13th hole. Cody bogeyed No. 17 and No. 18 to move back to one-over but countered with a birdie on No. 2 to get back to even-par. He closed out the round with a pair of pars to close out the day.
Junior Brinson Paolini posted back-to-back rounds of 72 to move into a tie for 26th with a two-over 144. He carded seven birdies, including four in the opening round of play, but also had nine bogeys in the first 36 holes of play.
Adam Sumrall is tied for 31st after posting a three-over 145. He registered a three-over 74 in the opening round before coming back with an even-par 71 in the second round. Sumrall was four-over late in the afternoon session before catching fire. He carded a birdie on the par 4 first hole and added another birdie on No. 2 before collecting a hole-in-one on the 186-yard, par 3 third hole. Sumrall used an eight iron on the par 3 third hole to collect the third hole-in-one of his career. He added a birdie on No. 4 to get to one-under before suffering a bogey on his closing par 5 sixth hole.
Junior Tim Gornik posted rounds of 76 and 70 to move into a tie for 35th after two rounds of play. The native of Slovenia had one birdie in the opening round but rebounded to collect five birdies in the second round of play.
Yaroslav Merkulov, a sophomore from Penfield, N.Y., is 10th after two rounds of play with a three-under 139. Merkulov, playing as an individual, shot a one-over 72 in the morning round before posting a four-under 67 in the second round. He finished the day with nine birdies and an eagle on the 322-yard, par 4 fifth hole (second round).
Senior Spencer Anderson is also tied for 26th after consecutive rounds of 72. He collected three birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys in the opening round. The Pacific Palisades, Calif., native carded four birdies, including three of the final four holes, 11 pars, two bogeys and a triple-bogey in the afternoon session.
Freshman Turner Southey-Gordon shot 71-76=147 (+5) and is tied for 39th while playing as an individual. He started slowly with a double-bogey, bogey opening to the tournament and dipped to four-over with a bogey on his sixth hole of play. Southey-Gordon recovered to collect four birdies and eight pars over the next 12 holes for an even-par 71. He added three birdies in the afternoon session but also suffered eight bogeys en route to a five-over 76.
Michael Ricaurte, a freshman from Ohio, is tied for 56th after shooting 72-79 on Saturday. He had four birdies during the opening round, but was unable to card a birdie during the afternoon round.
Duke will open final round play on Sunday at 9:30 am and will be paired with Kent State and Mercer. The Blue Devils, winners of the 2011 Irish Creek Collegiate, enter the final round 14 shots back of Kent State. Live scoring for the final round is available at www.golfstat.com.
"There are quite a few shots left out there," said Green. "We have a lot of golf still left to play. We obviously had some success there last year so hopefully the guys can get something special going tomorrow and see what happens."