Duke uses final-round rally to take second at Irish Creek

After 36 holes in about 10 hours of play Saturday, Duke overcame fatigue to clinch second place at the Irish Creek Collegiate Tournament as every Blue Devil climbed the leaderboard during the final round.

Heading into the third and final round, Kent State held the lead with a 15-under-par score of 553, and Mercer was in second place with a 3-under-par 565. Duke, who won the tournament last year, was 14 strokes behind the leader in third place.

The Blue Devils used a tournament-low round of 12-under-par to pass the Bears Sunday, but the Golden Flashes matched Duke’s score to take the win.

“This is more of an endurance test than most people think,” head coach Jamie Green said. “These guys are carrying 40-plus pounds on their backs for the day and walking many miles. They have to stay psychologically sharp even when their legs get tired to keep making good decisions on the course.”

Xavier’s Sebastian MacLean led all individuals after the first two rounds of play with an 8-under 134. Blue Devil junior Julian Suri trailed by just three shots going into Sunday, but as MacLean collapsed on the final day, Suri climbed to second with a 6-under-par 65, finishing two strokes behind Mercer’s James Beale.

Suri started the tournament off with six birdies and just one bogey in the opening round. In the second round, he shot five birdies but suffered one bogey and two double bogies.

“Julian is one of the best in college golf right now.” Green said. “He wasn’t feeling all that well this weekend. Finishing [Saturday] with two birdies was great for him going into the last round of play.”

Suri, who was named Golfweek player of the week after capturing the individual title at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate in Turtle Bay, Hawaii in February has quickly emerged as one of the nation’s top golfers.

“He has played well all year, and today was just another example of that,” Green said. “He is putting the pedal down, and his level of focus and ability to hit the ball is spectacular.”

Blue Devil sophomores Yaroslav Merkulov and Austin Cody finished the tournament tied for seventh and 12th place, respectively.

“Austin had a very complete round today.” Green said. “He played really well, start to finish.”


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