Trailing conference rival Georgia Tech entering the final round of competition in the NCAA East Regional, Duke was met with yet another roadblock—a 40 minute fog delay.
Julian Suri's solution? Turn up the tunes, stretch a bit, and wait.
Whatever was on Suri's playlist Saturday morning certainly did the trick, as the Blue Devils combined to shoot eight-under par in the final round to overtake the Yellowjackets and claim Duke's first ever regional title. In the final round the No. 16 Blue Devils shot a full seven strokes better than No. 5 Georgia Tech, and four strokes better than their nearest competition.
"We didn't have exactly the start we were looking for," Suri said, "but overall it was really good. It gave us a huge amount of confidence, especially beating our conference rival."
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Suri and his teammates started slow on Thursday—Suri shot a four-over 76 and only one Blue Devil, Brinson Paolini, shot under par.
The second round was kinder to Duke, though, as Suri rebounded with a two-under 70 to lead the team. However, a surprisingly poor round by Paolini, the Blue Devil's No. 1, kept the team chasing the competition.
"This whole spring I haven't really opened up well in tournaments, and I kind of did the same thing this time," Suri said. "But I righted the ship and played much better towards the end of my first round. I focused on that, and the positives of that round, to push me through these last couple rounds."
In the final round everything came together for Duke, as Paolini rebounded with an even-par 72, and Suri and Tim Gornik combined to shoot 10-under.
Gornik was particularly impressive—his six-under 66 set the competitive course record at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech. Gornik bogeyed only one hole on the day—the 495-yard, par four 18th—but shot seven birdies.
Gornik finished the tournament even-par and tied for eighth place, while Suri claimed fifth place with a two-under 214.
Now, the Blue Devils will look to use their historic accomplishment as momentum heading into next week's NCAA Championship, a tournament which they've now qualified for in three straight years under head coach Jamie Green.
"We've played really well, pretty consistent this spring," Suri said. "It's would've, could've, should've for this week, but building on this for next week is what's important."