Nothing is a finished product right from the get-go, especially when new parts are being incorporated. And after graduating four seniors, it's no different for Duke.
Coming off a tie for sixth-place in the Tar Heel Intercollegiate Invitational last weekend, No. 15 Duke looks to rebound this weekend at the inaugural Collegiate Challenge Cup at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs, Tenn.
After winning the Tar Heel Intercollegiate in 2012, junior Michael Ricaurte said his team was disappointed in its performance last week and hopes to improve.
“We didn’t play our best last week, and we know we can do better,” Ricaurte said. “We are focused on learning from that experience and just keeping a positive attitude moving forward."
The Collegiate Challenge Cup features top teams from both the ACC and SEC, including 11th-ranked Georgia and 19th-ranked Texas A&M.
Unlike most tournaments—which determine a winner based on stroke-play competition—the Collegiate Challenge Cup will utilize a variety of formats throughout the weekend. All teams will participate in a 54-hole stroke play, followed by one round of match play that pits ACC teams against SEC teams based on their finishes in the stroke-play segment. The tournament also includes a Saturday afternoon scramble in which two collegiate athletes are paired with two members of the media to comprise a foursome.
“We’ve never played in this format before, but it seems really cool to go up against great competition from the SEC in a 1-on-1 situation,” Ricaurte said.
The relative proximity of most of the participating schools should contribute to the spirit and energy of the tournament as well.
“Most of these guys know each other pretty well from playing together over the summer, so I expect a lot of camaraderie and fierce competition,” head coach Jamie Green said.
The event, also known as the Ingram Invitational, is co-hosted by David and Sarah Ingram—both of whom are former members of Duke's men's and women's golf teams.
"I'm really excited for our program to be involved in this new tournament, especially given our connection to the Ingrams," Green said.
Last week’s tournament was held at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C., so the team was able to practice on the course a few times before actually competing. This week, Duke is not so fortunate, as none of the players have ever played at The Golf Club of Tennessee.
Green himself has seen the course just once—when he was the head coach at UNC-Charlotte in 2005. He said that playing on a course for the first time would pose a challenge to his young team.
“Nobody on our roster has seen this course,” Green said. “I’ve been there once myself, but for the most part we are just going to have to go off what we’re told and make the best of it.”
This young team has three freshman, but only one, Max Greyserman, is traveling with the team this week. Greyserman had a memorable start to his collegiate career last weekend, finishing tied for fourth overall at the Tar Heel Invitational with a 2-under-par score of 214. He was also one of only five players to shoot even or under par in all three rounds.
Replacing four seniors with three freshman has given this year's team an entirely different dynamic than last year's, but Ricaurte said that doesn't mean they can't achieve the same success.
"The team has really been getting along great and gelling well together," Ricaurte said. "This is the closest team that we've had in my three years here, and that's a good sign."