Heading into the NCAA Championships Duke was "justifiably confident," according to head coach Jamie Green, after the school's first-ever regional championship.
After the first two rounds, though, that confidence might have diminished.
The Blue Devils shot a 15-over Tuesday and finished the opening round tied for 18th after only one golfer, Brinson Paolini, shot even par. Julian Suri, who was Duke's top finisher in the regional competition, was nine-over.
Duke rebounded in the second round, though, improving its team score by 10 shots to climb into 12th place. Paolini once again led the Blue Devils, once again shooting even par, and was joined by Tim Gornik at that level.
The slow start is not entirely a surprise for Duke, especially for Suri, who has had issues in the early rounds this season. Before the tournament, though, Green said what was important was not how the team started—a factor he said was over-emphasized—but how the team finishes.
That, according to Green, is what led to the Blue Devils' victory in the regionals.
"I think we don't need to focus on the slow start but the strong finish," Green said. "By making sure the guys had their minds calm and ready to push the pedal down when they felt comfortable, I think that allowed them to do what they did."
If that's the case, the Blue Devils might still be able to improve their standing as the tournament comes to a close—but this time, it looks like a slow start has finally caught up with them.
Check back with the Blue Zone for updates on Duke's performance at the NCAA Championship.
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