DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s golf team put on a furious back-nine rally on Sunday to nearly post a dramatic win at the sixth annual Rod Myers Invitational, falling just one stroke shy and finishing second with a total of 863 (-1).
Sophomore Adam Wood played bogey-free golf on the back nine to pace Duke to a seven-over 295 in the final round. The Blue Devils trailed tournament winner Wake Forest by as many as eight strokes on Sunday afternoon before rallying to tie the score and force the Demon Deacons to make a birdie putt on the 18th hole for the victory.
“The golf course bared its teeth later in the round, and our guys have played this course so many times that it probably helped us close the gap,” Duke head coach Jamie Green said. “Wake Forest is a terrific team. I could not be more proud of our guys for playing as solidly as they did coming down the stretch. They made some birdies, managed our hiccups and were able to close the gap to make it close.”
Wood finished in sole possession of second place with a total of 209 (-7) to mark the best showing of his collegiate career. He led the tournament in both par-four scoring (3.90) and par-five scoring (4.50).
“Adam played a lot of great golf as a freshman last season, but he wasn’t necessarily in contention to win, so this tournament was critical for him,” Green said. “He’s a great champion and has a strong will to win, and we love the fact that he plays golf at Duke University.”
After battling to stand at two-over at the turn, the Zionsville, Ind., native played bogey-free golf on the back nine to give himself a chance to win the tournament on the 18th hole. After Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris made a birdie putt to break a tie with Wood, the latter’s birdie effort burned the edge of the cup and he signed his card with a final-round 73 (+1) to claim runner-up honors.
“I knew I was going to have to play solid golf on the back nine to apply some pressure and to give our team a good chance to win,” Wood said. “I played bogey-free the rest of the way, so I can use that for confidence going forward. I wasn’t thinking too much out there. I was going on instinct, and I hit some good shots. I hit a good putt on 18 and it touched the edge of the hole. It happens, but it was a good tournament for my team and me.”
Junior Matt Oshrine battled his way to an even-par round on Sunday to tie for eighth and earn a top-10 finish in his Duke debut. He was even par for the tournament with a total of 216. Sophomore Jake Shuman gave the Blue Devils three top-10 finishers with a one-over 217 after firing a final-round 75 (+3).
Two of Duke’s individuals recorded top-20 finishes on the weekend, as junior Alexander Matlari and freshman Shrish Dwivedi both shot 71 (-1) on Sunday to post 218 (+2) and tie for 12th place. Junior Andrew Bieber finished in a tie for 54th with a total of 231 (+15) and sophomore Ben Silverman finished in a tie for 61st with a total of 234 (+18).
The Blue Devils will be back in action on Sept. 25 when they tee off in the first of three rounds of the DICK’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup in Kingston Springs, Tenn. Live scoring will be available via golfstatresults.com.