Duke men's golf set to host Rod Myers Invitational
Duke will compete in and host the fourth annual Rod Myers Invitational Saturday and Sunday at Duke University Golf Club. The 54-hole event includes 36 holes on day one and the final 18 holes on day two and features 11 teams, with no. 18 Baylor being the top-ranked squad. The lineup for the Blue Devils has yet to be determined.
Though Duke has not met expectations after finishing sixth out of 14 teams at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate and ninth out of 10 teams at the Collegiate Challenge Cup, many of the more inexperienced Blue Devils have had significant practice time to work on what went wrong.
"We're trying to take care of the little details," head coach Jamie Green said. "When you look at an event or a score and feel like it didn't go well, sometimes you can get overwhelmed with too much. We really had to break it down and look at the small details and things we had control over changing."
Duke will try to take advantage of having a tournament at its home course, though the youth of the team likely minimizes this potential advantage.
"We'd like to play as well as any team, or better," Green said. "We just can't compare to how some of the others play in the sense that some of the other players have literally played the golf course more than a couple of our new guys. We've focused much more on the golf course [in practice] these last few days.... We just need to make sure that they're comfortable with the shots out there so that we can compete at the highest level we can."
It will be the first official tournament played at the Duke University Golf Club since the summer renovation that replaced the old bentgrass greens with Champion Bermudagrass. In addition to improving the putting surfaces, the change also made the par-72 golf course that measures well over 7,000 yards from the championship tees much more sustainable.
"The golf course is primed," Green said. "The greens are as good, fast and firm as they've ever been. [Rees Jones, the man who led the course renovation] reshaped the backs of some of the greens so that they're tilted up so that a ball will either stay close to the green or roll back on to the green.... That might be a little bit of an equalizer, but it should be a great test for all the teams."
The tournament is named after legendary Duke men's golf coach Rod Myers, who was at Duke for more than 30 years, led the team to 30 tournament victories and was the 2005 National and ACC Coach of the Year. Myers lost his battle with leukemia and passed away in 2007.
"It was an honor a few years ago to have Nancy Myers [Rod Myers' wife] allow us to put Rod's name on the event," Green said. "Ever since, it's been a wonderful thing for our program, college athletics and men's golf because we get to remember Rod and all the great things he did for our university, college golf and the PGA of America. It's just a great honor for us."