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Blue Devils Finish Fifth at Rod Myers Invitational
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/11/2010
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Senior Wes Roach
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team, ranked 16th in the latest Golf World / Nike Golf Coaches' Poll, fired the low round of the day to finish fifth at the Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke University Golf Club. The Blue Devils posted a three-under 285 as a team with senior Wes Roach and freshman Yaroslav Merkulov carding rounds of 69 (-3) and 70 (-2), respectively.

"It was an enormous privilege to have Rod's name on the tournament here at Duke University," said head coach Jamie Green. "He has meant so much to everyone here at Duke, in the community and the world of golf. To be able to have his name on this event, it's almost immediate prestige. It's something that we have to live up to. You can't name something after Rod Myers unless it's first class top to bottom. I feel like that happened."

Iowa posted an even-par 288 in the final round to lead wire-to-wire and finish with a 13-under 851. N.C. State shot a one-under 287 to finish five shots back with an 856, while Charlotte finished third at four-under 860. Michigan was fourth (-3, 861) with Duke rounding out the top five with two-over 866. Minnesota (874) placed sixth and was following by Tulsa (875), UNC Greensboro (876), East Tennessee State (877), Middle Tennessee State (879), Rice (891) and VCU (896).

Albin Choi of N.C. State captured medalist honors with a five-under 211 after posting a one-under 71 in the final round. He got off to a double-bogey, bogey start before turning things around with four birdies over the next six holes. Choi closed the day with 10 straight pars including a two-putt par on No. 18 to secure a one stroke victory over Donald Constable (Minnesota), Brad Hopfinger (Iowa) and Michael Whitehead (Rice).

Roach finished tied for 13th overall with an even-par 216 after carding a 69 on Monday. He bogeyed his opening hole of the day, No. 10, before posting birdies on No. 11, No. 12, No. 14 and No. 16 to move to three-under. After dropping strokes with bogeys on No. 17 and No. 10, Roach parred six of the last eight holes and birdied both par 5s on the front nine to close his final home tournament round at three-under.

"I just wanted to go out there today and play a good round," said Roach. "I wanted to shoot something under par. I was pretty disappointed in my two rounds yesterday. We had big hopes coming into the event and it just didn't work out for us. We'll just get back at it when we play again in two weeks down in Georgia. Hopefully, we can all be on top of our games going into that event."

Merkulov, a freshman from Penfield, N.Y., continued his outstanding play at the event with a two-under 70. After posting a one-over 37 on the back nine, Merkulov shot three-under on No. 1-9. He carded birdies on three straight holes (No. 5-7) coming down the stretch. Merkulov's five-under 139 over the final two rounds was tops in the tournament. He would have won the individual title by three strokes had it not been for a scorecard error following the opening round of play.

Sophomore Tim Gornik posted a one-over 73 in the final round to finish tied for 17th with a one-over 217. The Ljubljana, Slovenia native, started slowly with a three-over 39 on his opening nine holes on Monday. Gornik parred the first five holes after the turn before recording birdies on No. 6 and No. 9 to collect his second top 20 finish of the year.

Brinson Paolini placed tied for 26th with a three-over 219 after shooting a one-over 73 in the final round. The Virginia Beach, Va., native got off to a slow start with bogeys on No. 10 and No. 12. He registered a birdie on the 439-yard par 4 17th hole before giving the stroke back with a bogey on No. 18. After slipping to three-over with a bogey on No. 2, Paolini birdied No. 3 and No. 5 to get back to one-over. He parred the final four holes of the round to finish just outside the top 20.

Sophomore Adam Sumrall posted his third straight round of +3, 75 on Monday to finish tied for 44th at nine-over. The South Bend, Ind., native finished the round with three birdies, 10 pars, four bogeys and a double-bogey.

Sophomore Julian Suri and freshman Austin Cody also capped of strong tournament performances while playing as individuals. Suri finished 12th overall after posting a one-under 215 for the tournament. He finished with a two-over 74 in the final round of play. The St. Augustine, Fla., native opened play with eight straight pars before carding a birdie on the par 5 ninth hole. He added another birdie on the 571-yard par 5 11th hole to move to two-under before running into trouble. Suri hit his tee shot into the water on the par 3 12th hole and ended up with a six to slip to one-over. Suri also bogeyed the par 3 15th hole before recovering to par out for the eighth top 20 finish of his career.

Cody collected two birdies, 13 pars, two bogeys and a double-bogey en route to a final round 74. He closed the tournament tied for 26th with a three-over 219.

Duke's four counting players played the final six holes (No. 4-9) of the final round at nine-under with nine birdies and no bogeys. The late charge helped the Blue Devils climb into the top 5 overall. Had it not been for the scoring error in the first round Duke would have climbed an additional spot. The strong finish also gave Duke the low round of the day on Monday.

"Obviously if you have the low round, and you're doing that every day, you're going to look good at the end of the week," added Green. "That's certainly something we'd like to do is win every round if we have the opportunity. It's truly what the guys are doing out there on the golf course on their own, and they really turned things around, especially going into their second nine. They watched some putts drop and hit some shots close. They built up some confidence and it was nice for them to finish that way. Yesterday and today, especially when we got to that back nine, the guys looked comfortable and assertive. I think it will pay big dividends in any tournament when you get out there and do that."

Duke returns to action Oct. 24-26 at the United States Collegiate Championship in Alpharetta, Ga.


NOTES

*** Roach played the par 5s at four-under in the final round ... he finished tied for third in the tournament with 13 birdies ... he also ranked among the tournament leaders in par 3 scoring (E) and par 5 scoring (-4)

*** Merkulov had five birdies and 13 pars on the front side of the Duke University Golf Club over the final two rounds of play

*** Merkulov has a team-best four under-par rounds, including three rounds in the 60s, on the season

*** Duke's three-under 285 on Monday was its lowest final round score of the season

*** Cody ranked among the tournament leaders in par 4 scoring (+1) and pars (35)

*** Suri finished among the leaders in par 4 scoring (+1), par 5 scoring (-6), eagles (1), birdies (10) and pars (36)

*** Gornik played the par 5s at five-under with five birdies and seven pars ... he was also tied for sixth with 37 pars


QUOTES

Head coach Jamie Green

On the support for the tournament
"We had so much support. We had tons of volunteers out here, great support from the golf course, the maintenance staff, and the guys in the shop. The players and the coaches who competed here really felt that. You want to play well at your home event, you want to play the best golf you can play in front of everyone who knows you, but at the same time to have a great competition, that's what Rod would have liked most."

Senior Wes Roach

On Duke's strong finish
"Any time you finish a round like that, that's ideal. You want to finish strong every time you go out there. But for us moving forward, that's huge. We can look back on that and hopefully use that momentum going into the start of our next event. We all have things we need to work on individually. That's definitely big for our confidence to finish the round like that."

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