CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team, ranked 21st in the Coaches' Preseason Poll, opened the 2012-13 campaign with a six-shot victory at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. The Blue Devils, led by senior Brinson Paolini's four-under 68, fired a final round 289 (+1) on SUnday to close the 54-hole event with an eight-under 856.
"It feels great to start the season with a win," said Paolini. "This is the most talented team I have been on at Duke and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Having two freshmen finish in the top six in their first college event is pretty special and a testament to their ability."
Paolini got off to a terrific start in the final round with three birdies over the first four holes. The Virginia Beach, Va., native added a birdie on the par 4 ninth hole to make the turn at four-under. Following a bogey on No. 10, Paolini parred the next seven holes before closing the tournament with birdie on the par 4 18th hole. Paolini ended the event tied for sixth with a two-under 214 for his 13th career top 10 finish.
"I stopped putting so much pressure on myself during today's round and just enjoyed the opportunity to shoot a good number," Paolini added.
Freshman Motin Yeung also finished tied for sixth at two-under (214). In Sunday's final round, he posted a one-over 73 with 15 pars, one birdie and two bogeys. Yeung recorded a pair of under-par rounds in his first collegiate event.
Adam Sumrall, a senior from South Bend, Ind., registered a one-over 73 in the third round to tie for 12th with a one-over 217. He played the first five holes at one-over with bogeys on No. 1 and No. 5 and a birdie on the par 5 third hole before closing out with 13 straight pars.
Senior Julian Suri collected his 14th career top 10 finish with an even-par 216 (71-70-75). The St. Augustine, Fla., native birdied both par 5s on the front side at Finley Golf Course and sat a one-under through 13 holes before running into trouble on Sunday. He suffered four bogeys over the final five holes for a three-over 75.
Austin Cody recorded 14 pars in the final round but suffered a double-bogey and triple-bogey on the back nine en route to a seven-over 79. The junior from North Charleston, S.C., finished tied for 24th overall.
"Between four seniors and some really talented guys coming in this year we knew it was going to be a battle to get into the lineup from week to week," said head coach Jamie Green. "That can help our team immearuably. Having a little bit of competition coming in and having guys know that their games need to be sharp and continue to build and grow is going to do nothing but help the team scores throughout the year."
Duke's top finish at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate came from freshman Mads Soegaard, who competed as an individual. Soegaard fired a two-under 70 on Sunday to finish with a three-under 213. The Denmark native was one-over after five holes before turning his round around with birdies on the par 5 sixth and par 4 seventh holes. He played bogey-free golf the rest of the way and added a birdie on the par 3 12th hole for his second under-par round of the event.
Senior Tim Gornik and sophomore Michael Ricaurte also competed as individuals finishing tied for 45th and tied for 52nd, respectively. Gornik carded five birdies on Sunday en route to a one-over 73 on the day and a nine-over 225 for the tournament. Ricaurte got off to a slow start in the final round with four bogeys and a double-bogey in the first seven holes. He recovered to play the final nine holes at two-under for a four-over 76. The Columbus, Ohio native finished with a 10-over 226.
Albin Choi (N.C. State) claimed the individual title with an 11-under 205. Patrick Barrett (North Carolina) finished six shots back with Michael McGowan (North Carolina) in third at four-under. Sogaard and Dan Hendry (Charlotte) finished tied for fourth.
Host North Carolina finished six shots behind team medalist Duke with Charlotte (+9, 873), N.C. State (+10, 874) and East Tennessee State (+13, 877) rounding out the top five.
Duke returns to action Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational. Follow the Blue Devils on Twitter @Duke_MGolf.
*** Duke has now won six events under head coach Jamie Green
*** Duke's last tournament victory to open the season came at the 2006 Olympia Fields CC/Fighting Illini Invitational
*** Paolini moved into a tie for second at Duke with 21 career rounds in the 60s ... he also moved into fourth at Duke with 52 career rounds of even-par or better golf
*** Paolini's four-under 68 matched the low round of the day
*** Cody tied for the tournament lead with 41 pars, while Soegaard and Yeung were tied for fourth with 39 pars apiece
*** Yeung shared the tournament lead in par 3 scoring at three-under
*** Suri was tied for second in par 5 scoring at seven-under