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DURHAM, N.C. - GoDuke.com recently sat down with junior Yaroslav Merkulov of the Duke men’s golf team to learn of highlights from his golf career. The junior owns a 21st-place finish this season in the Heel Devil Individual.

GoDuke.com: What kind of clubs do you play?
Yaroslav Merkulov:
I have a TaylorMade driver; I think it is a Burner TP. I have a RocketBallz three-wood, 14.5 degree. I have a Titleist hybrid, Titleist Combo-set irons, Titleist Vokey wedges and a Scotty Cameron putter. I play with a Titleist ProV1X golf ball.

GoDuke.com: What kind of pre-round superstitions do you have before tournaments?
YM:
I always mark the ball heads up with the coin. I usually try to use a coin from the ‘60s. I always walk with one tee and one coin in my right pocket and my glove has to be in my left pocket. It is something I have always done and I feel comfortable with it.

GoDuke.com: Is there a shot that sticks out in your mind that you have hit under pressure?
YM:
The 2009 Junior Players, which was played at TPC Sawgrass. On the 17th hole of the final round, the flagstick was on the far right side of the green. I remember I hit a knock-down eight-iron. My caddie told me to keep the ball low when I was hitting into that green and I hit it within eight feet. I made the birdie and that got me out of a three-way tie for second place to second place alone. I didn’t win the tournament, but that one sticks out. Another one that sticks out is when I holed a 20-foot putt on the final hole of the state junior that same year and shot a 61 in the final round.

GoDuke.com: How many hole-in-ones have you hit?
YM:
One, I was 14 when I hit it. It was on the 14th hole of my home course. It was an uphill par three and I didn’t see it go in, but I went up and couldn’t find the ball, looked in the hole and there it was.

GoDuke.com: What is your go to shot?
YM:
Probably a draw, right to left shot.

GoDuke.com: What is your favorite club?
YM:
I would say the driver. I like hitting the long ball.


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