Duke, ranked 13th in the most recent Golfstat rankings, travelled 2,500 miles to golf paradise to take on six teams ranked in the top 20 at the Stanford Classic played at Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Ca.
The Blue Devils finished in second place at Cypress Point, ranked No. 2 in Golf Magazine’s 2011 list of Best Courses in America.
“[The Club] is pristine,” head coach Jamie Green said. “It is an extremely private and exclusive club. It’s not even easy for the players to get on the golf course at all…. It was a huge treat for us to have this hosted there. Just to be able to say you played the course and competed on it, that’s pretty special.”
Duke made it to the championship round Tuesday after beating out USC and Stanford in four-ball and alternate-shot play, respectively, in two sessions Monday.
Senior Tim Gornik and freshman Mads Soegaard teamed up for a decisive 4-0 victory against USC’s Sam Smith and Stewart Hagestad. The senior tandem of Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini won their match by 3.5-0.5 and senior Adam Sumrall and junior Austin Cody drew their match 2-2.
“I think all of our pairings were all really strong,” Green said. “Mads and Tim got things going at the beginning of the day. They played well all day long. They had control of each of their matches and they helped motivate the rest of the team [hitting the course later that morning].”
Duke finished match play Monday beating USC and Stanford 9.5-2.5 and 7.5-4.5, respectively.
With a dominating performance on day one of play, the Blue Devils headed into day two one round away from yet another first place finish on the season. Duke has earned first place in two of its competitions this fall.
The Blue Devils were not on target on day two of the tournament, falling 18-6 to UCLA in Tuesday’s final round format consisting of six individual matches with four possible points on the line in each. One point could be won on the front nine holes, one on the back and two points for a combined score.
Paolini, who has been playing consistently well and poised all season long, was the only Blue Devil to rack up all four points in his matchup.
“Brinson played very well,” Green said. “We just didn’t help him out with enough points from the other guys.”
The Classic marks Duke’s last event until the spring. Although Green knows his players would have loved to finish off the fall with a win, he is optimistic about the future that lies ahead for his team.
“I think we played pretty consistently this fall,” Green said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt the guys would have liked to take a trophy home today…. I know the seniors would have gotten a kick out of that….[Our team has] been competitive in every tournament this fall. We have a lot of depth this year. We have four seniors, and they will be the stalwarts for us, but we also have a lot of young guys who have played well too.”