Duke sits in 3rd with 1 day to go at Illini Invitational

The last time Olympia Fields Country Club hosted a tournament drawing national attention, Jim Furyk won the 2003 U.S. Open.

Sunday, the club in Olympia Fields, Ill. opened its North Course-set with the same tee and hole locations as the Open-to some of the nation's best collegiate golfers for the opening rounds of the Fighting Illini Invitational.

Through 36 holes of play Sunday in the 54-hole tournament, Duke is 18-over-par, three shots behind leading Stanford and two behind Oklahoma St.

No. 9 Duke is one of six top-25 squads in the 12-team field, which also includes defending NCAA champions and current No. 1 Oklahoma St. Three other teams fall within the top 50 in the country.

While the caliber of golf has lived up to the tagline Olympia Fields created to plug the tournament, "Come observe the 'future stars of golf,'" the biggest story-and surprise-of the Invite so far is Blue Devil freshman Adam Long.

In the first tournament of his college career, Long shot a 1-over 141 and is tied for second place with Pablo Martin, an Oklahoma State junior ranked preseason No. 1 by Golf World Magazine.

Duke's freshman fired an even-par 70 in his opening round Sunday, carding 14 pars and two birdies.

"When you're playing in your first tournament, you don't know how you are going to perform," head coach Rod Myers said. "When you're the fifth guy on the roster, and you come out and have a chance to win the tournament, you're putting yourself and the team in a very good position."

Junior Michael Schachner also had a very strong opening day and is tied for fifth overall after shooting a 2-over-par 142.

Schachner carded ten consecutive pars to close out his first round and played his par-3 holes solidly through 36 holes, finishing them at 2-under.

"Michael played really well today," Myers said. "Anytime you can shoot a score of 1-over on this type of gold course, I think you've done a heck of a job."

The other Blue Devils in the field are sophomore Clark Klaasen, junior Michael Quagliano and senior Jake Grodzinsky.

Klaasen is tied for 21st at 7-over for the day, and Quagliano finished one stroke behind him in a tie for 25th, after back-to-back rounds of 74. Although the sophomore only had one birdie through 36, he also fired 28 pars.

"Clark played really well out there this morning, but he doesn't have a lot to show for it," Myers said.

Grodzinsky struggled in his opening round-going 9-over through his first 18-and ended his day at 14-over, 154, in a tie for 50th.

Myers said the North Course has proven to be a very tough test for his players, particularly because the hole configuration is identical to that of the third and fourth rounds of the 2003 U.S. Open.

"I told my guys they have to respect every par they get out here because it's a really difficult course," Myers said. "Now, it's just a matter of just trying to keep ourselves in a position to win."


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