Duke men's golf set to open season at Tar Heel Intercollegiate

This year's Duke squad looks nothing like the team that won an ACC Championship four months ago. After graduating four seniors the end of last year, the Blue Devils return just one starter from their postseason lineup.

Duke will open its fall schedule at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday and Sunday. The Blue Devils return two of its five starters from the tournament last season, where they took first place and finished with five golfers in the tournament's top 12.

“There’s no doubt, we've got a lot of big shoes to fill,” head coach Jamie Green said. “When you lose four seniors on a golf team, that’s a bundle.”

The Blue Devil roster features three freshmen, the most of any Duke team in four years. For guidance, these freshmen will be relying on senior Austin Cody, the only returning starter from last year’s ACC Championship team.

Cody said he is optimistic about the new lineup as well as his team’s chances of repeating last year’s success.

“There are a lot of guys who can step up and fill the space," Cody said. "I don’t see why we can’t have just as good of a season if not better.”

Cody is not the only one with confidence in this year’s team. Duke was ranked 15th overall in the Golf World preseason coaches’ poll behind only two other ACC squads, No. 4 Georgia Tech and No. 13 Florida State. But Green refuses to let rankings affect his attitude toward the season.

“Sure it’s nice to have your peers believe that you’re a top 20 team… but as far as I’m concerned, everybody’s tied for first place," Green said. "That’s the attitude we’re going to take.”

When looking toward Duke's season-opener at Finley this weekend, Green said he will be focusing more on his young team's performance, rather than the tournament's results.

“It’s not a matchup against other teams, it’s a matchup against a golf course," Green said. "If I can get them focused… I think we’ll be just fine.”

Playing the tournament in nearby Chapel Hill provides Duke with both an easy commute and a level of familiarity with the course. With a young squad gearing up for its first tournament of the season, the Blue Devils have been practicing both at Finley and on courses with the same grass to increase their comfort level.

“We’ve played [Finley] three or four times in the past few weeks,” Cody said. “We’ll have a lot of confidence going into [the tournament] this year.”

As to the question of whether this year’s Duke team could replicate the five tournament wins—including an ACC Championship—that it earned last year, Green said he prefers not to get too ahead of himself.

“I’d rather just go out and play golf and let that decide where we are,” he said.


Share and discuss “Duke men's golf set to open season at Tar Heel Intercollegiate” on social media.