Duke men's golf ties for 6th at Tar Heel Intercollegiate
Brianna Siracuse / Chronicle File Photo
This year, it was No. 4 Georgia Tech's turn to dominate, but Duke was still able to post a top-10 finish with a lineup featuring plenty of new faces.
No. 15 Duke started its season at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Blue Devils came out of the gate strong with an even-par 288 in the first round that left them only five strokes behind and in third place. The team, however, was unable to maintain its level of play and struggled throughout the final 36 holes, finishing at 18-over-par 882 in a tie for sixth, 40 strokes behind the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech was crowned the tournament's champion, placing four golfers in the top six and defeating N.C. State, the second-place finisher, by 20 strokes.
"Our thoughts going in there were that if everyone was able to shoot 71 in every round, we would contend," head coach Jamie Green said. "We were closer to doing that in the first round.... From there, it kind of tailed off. We had many more unforced errors as the tournament wore on."
Duke was paced by freshman Max Greyserman, who carded consistent rounds of 71, 71 and 72 to finish at two-under-par and in a tie for fourth place in his first start as a Blue Devil. Greyserman finished six shots behind Georgia Tech's Seth Reeves, the tournament's individual champion.
"We're excited to see what comes of his career for us," Green said. "He came in playing pretty well. While we're excited and proud for him—we're also not too surprised. We knew he was capable of that, so it was good to see."
Greyserman's classmate Alexander Matlari had a first round score of 71 and was tied for sixth before a second round 74 and final round 79 pushed him into a tie for 38th. Junior Michael Ricaurte mirrored Matlari's first two rounds but bettered his teammate by three strokes in the final round to finish in a tie for 28th. The other team members, junior Turner Southey-Gordon and freshman Andrew Bieber, had a tough time gaining any momentum on the 7,242-yard, par-72 golf course.
"There's a stretch from nine through 12 that some players might struggle with a little bit," Green said. "We didn't play those holes as well as I think we were capable of, but that's not really the whole picture. There were still spots on the golf course with fairly easy holes that our guys didn't capitalize on much."
Seniors Austin Cody and Yaroslav Merkulov competed as individuals in the tournament for Duke. Cody struggled throughout the tournament, with rounds of 79 and 87, and Merkulov used a final-round 72 to climb into a tie for 33rd.
Going forward this season, Duke has a lot to build on after opening the tournament with an impressive first round. Despite having to replace most of their lineup from last season, the team will not be making any excuses going forward.
"It's a new environment when you play in the top five," Coach Green said. "But it's still just you, your golf clubs and the golf course. If you can recognize what your gameplan is and stay in the right frame of mind, you can overcome that. That's probably the most challenging thing about our game, but I believe that they've got absolutely every bit of talent to get better at that."