Duke men's golf places third at Rod Myers Invitational
Duke rebounded after a nine-over-par 297 in the opening round of the Rod Myers Invitational at the par-72 Duke University Golf Club left the team in ninth place out of 11 teams to finish the tournament at one-over-par overall in third place, 11 strokes behind tournament champion Northwestern. It was the team's first top-five finish of the season.
Since the first 36 holes of the 54 hole tournament were completed on day one of the two day event, Duke bettered their disappointing first round by 16 strokes with their seven-under-par second round just a few hours after they finished the first round. The team carded a one-under-par 287 in the final round.
"I am really proud of the guys for turning things around," head coach Jamie Green said. "Obviously, we didn't get off to the start we were hoping for. Our guys kept their heads about them, made very good decisions as the day wore on and had good attitudes throughout the day yesterday [rounds one and two]. That carried over today [round three] as they continued to make strong decisions and gave themselves opportunities for birdies."
Sophomore Motin Yeung led the Blue Devils, carding rounds of 72, 70 and 70 to finish at four-under-par in a tie for sixth. It was his first top-10 placement of the season in just his second start.
"Motin told me early in the tournament that he was excited about his decision making and approach on the course," Green said. "He said he probably didn't hit it as well as some other tournaments, but because of his continuous good decision making he didn't get himself in much trouble."
Yeung finished five strokes behind tournament co-champions Jack Perry and Matthew Fitzpatrick, both from Northwestern. Fitzpatrick was the U.S. Amateur Champion this year, earning invitations to the Masters, U.S. Open, and Open Championship in 2014. A native of England, he made the cut and finished in a tie for 44th at this year's Open Championship.
"Hats go off to Northwestern for really playing a terrific tournament," Green said. "They were carried by two very good players, and it was great to have a U.S. Amateur champion in the field for the event."
Duke senior Yaroslav Merkulov was resurgent during his final 36 holes just as his team was, following an opening round 78 with rounds of 69 and 70 to finish at one-over-par in a tie for 11th.
Blue Devil freshman Alexander Matlari shot rounds of 75, 72 and 72 to finish at three-over-par in a tie for 16th. Junior Michael Ricaurte competed as an individual, meaning that his scores did not affect the team score, but still had a strong showing, carding rounds of 70, 77 and 72 to also finish at three-over-par in a tie for 16th.
Duke will look to build on their performance next week at the United States Collegiate Championship in Alpharetta, Ga., after hosting the fourth annual Rod Myers Invitational. The tournament is named for golf coach Rod Myers, who coached at Duke for more than 30 years and passed away in 2007.
"We are proud to host the Rod Myers Invitational again," Green said. "We received terrific responses and positive feedback from those in attendence. We cannot thank our volunteers and sponsors enough. They do so much to help this tournament be what it is—a really great tribute to Rod Myers."