The Duke men’s golf team, ranked 21st in the Coaches’ Preseason Poll, travel to Illinois to compete in the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational (Sept. 30 – Oct. 2).
The Blue Devils, coming off a tournament victory at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, are one of six teams ranked in the Coaches’ Poll in the field. The 54-hole, three-day Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational will be played at the Olympia Fields CC South Course (7,080 yards, par 70).
“This is one of the best run tournaments on one of the nation’s best golf courses so we are excited to be on that property for the event,” said head coach Jamie Green. “It is being played on the South Course this year which is a little bit different from the North but both are absolute championship golf courses. It will be a new look for a lot of us so it’s going to be very important that we spend some time in that practice round paying close attention to where we can take advantage of the golf course, and where we need to give it a little more respect.”
Green will field a lineup featuring seniors Brinson Paolini, Adam Sumrall and Julian Suri along with junior Austin Cody and freshman Mads Soegaard. Senior Tim Gornik and freshman Motin Yeung are unavailable for the tournament as they are competing for their respective countries in the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey (Oct. 4-7).
“Motin and Tim are heading out to play in the World Amateur,” Green said. “We wish them well and we are excited to see how that goes for them and their countries. We won’t be the only team missing some of our top players. There will be quite a few teams at Olympia Fields that will have players competing in the World Amateur.”
Soegaard, coming off a tie for fourth finish in his first collegiate event at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, will play out of the No. 1 slot for the Blue Devils. The Denmark native fired a three-under 213 (73-70-70) while competing as an individual in the first event of the season.
The senior trio of Paolini, Suri and Sumrall will anchor the middle of the lineup for Duke. Paolini posed a two-under 214, with a 68 (-4) in the final round, to finish tied for sixth at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. He now has 13 top 10 finishes and 52 rounds of even-par or better golf in his career. Paolini’s 72.35 career stroke average is the second-best all-time at Duke.
Suri shot 71-70-75=216 (E) to tie for 10th in the season opening event at Finley Golf Club. The St. Augustine, Fla., native enters the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational with 14 top 10 finishes and 37 under-par rounds of golf.
Sumrall, a South Bend, Ind., native, started the year well with a one-over 217 to tie for 12th at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. He shot even-par in each of the first two rounds of the season. Sumrall has finished in the top 20 in each of his last three events dating back to last season.
Junior Austin Cody rounds out the Duke lineup. He registered an under-par and an even-par round at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate before struggling in the final round of play. Cody closed out the event just outside the top 20 overall.
“I feel fantastic about the lineup that we have going,” Green added. “Mads is going into the lineup for the first time, but last week when we won the Tar Heel Intercollegiate he was our low finisher while playing as an individual. These events have a special meaning for the seniors, especially those who have been to this facility and have played in this tournament. It will be the last time they play at Olympia Fields at least in college and I know they are going to want to take advantage of every opportunity.”
Duke is joined in the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational field by No. 8 Arkansas, No. 11 Stanford, No. 12 Florida, No. 16 Florida State, No. 24 Clemson, Oklahoma State, Illinois, SMU, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Florida State, Auburn and Augusta State.
Duke has played at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational five previous times, winning the event in its first year in 2006.
Duke Results at Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational
2012 893 (+53) 13th of 15
2011 861 (+21) 6th of 15
2008 877 (+37) 8th of 15
2007 877 (+37) 6th of 12
2006 864 (+24) 1st of 12
Live scoring, tee times and statistics for the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational will be available at www.golfstat.com. Duke will open the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 30. Tee times and pairings will be available at www..golfstat.com on Saturday.
Follow the Duke men’s golf team on Twitter @Duke_MGolf for tournament updates as well as behind the scenes images and insights.