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Duke men's golf 2021 season preview

Evan Katz finished last season as the 11th-ranked golfer in the country.
Evan Katz finished last season as the 11th-ranked golfer in the country.

Overview

Given the new additions to an already talented and veteran squad, it’s not hard to reason why Duke came into the 2021 campaign ranked No. 25, with the Blue Devils jumping up to No. 18 after two top-four finishes to open the season. With a frenzy of tournaments against some of the best teams the ACC has to offer, this season will be captivating for any Blue Devil fan. In a year filled with uncertainty, however, the team will have to weather the many obstacles in their path to perform to its expectations. -Brennan Hurd

New golfer to watch: Ian Siebers

With an influx of new talent, you don’t have to look far down the roster to see a fresh face. In fact, you also wouldn’t have to look outside Golfweek’s top 100 player rankings to find Duke freshman Ian Siebers. The Bellevue, Wash., native, who signed his national letter of intent as the 22nd-ranked recruit in the country, finished in the top 10 of his first two collegiate tournaments. Look for Siebers to keep that momentum going and to be an anchoring force for the Blue Devils this season. -Matthew Hawkins

Returning golfer to watch: Evan Katz

Coming off an abbreviated 2019-20 season in which he finished ranked No. 11 in the Golfweek individual rankings, Evan Katz returns to Durham with high expectations for his senior campaign. Though Katz struggled in the Sea Best Invitational Feb. 1-2, his season-opening top-10 finish in the Camp Creek Seminole Invitational Jan. 17-19 proved that Katz has the talent to perform and compete at the highest levels of collegiate golf. For Duke to reach new heights this season, Katz will need to be consistently featured near the tops of leaderboards. -Hawkins

Most anticipated tournament: Wake Forest Invitational, March 1-2

The Wake Forest Invitational, taking place at the legendary Pinehurst No. 2 course, will likely prove to be Duke’s fiercest regular-season competition. Not only will the course itself prove challenging, but facing ranked teams like No. 5 Wake Forest and No. 23 North Carolina will be a solid test for head coach Jamie Green and his squad. -Hurd

Best-case scenario

With the experience of Duke’s roster, combined with the addition of a strong freshman class, the Blue Devils have a chance to make some noise in May. If the freshmen can continue to produce under strong senior leadership, I can see the Blue Devils reaching the match-play portion of the NCAA Championships as one of the top eight teams in the country. They have the potential to compete for a national title, but they’ve got a long road ahead to make that dream a reality. -Hawkins

Worst-case scenario

The Blue Devils, loaded with upperclassman talent, have also added four freshmen to their roster. If the new additions are unable to find chemistry with the returning players, the team’s dynamic may be affected. That, in addition to the unpredictable nature of a season amid COVID-19, puts Duke at risk for an early postseason exit. -Hurd

Predictions

Hawkins: 4th in the ACC, NCAA Championship stroke-play 

Hurd: 3rd in the ACC, NCAA Championship match-play quarterfinalists


Editor's note: This is a part of The Chronicle's series of previews for Duke's spring sports, the rest of which can be found here.

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