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A statistical look at the fall season for Duke men's golf

Freshman Kelly Chinn, the No. 1 golfer in his class, has made his way into Duke's tournament five.
Freshman Kelly Chinn, the No. 1 golfer in his class, has made his way into Duke's tournament five.

In what seemed like a flash, Duke’s fall season is over.

The GC of Georgia Collegiate came and went over the weekend, as the Blue Devils finished eighth out of 15 teams at -13, 29 shots behind reigning national champion Pepperdine. With nearly three months until its next event, Duke has time to look at some film and chart out strategies for improvement. Which gives us a chance to look at a few statistics under the hood.

Moving up the leaderboard

Across the five fall events, Duke ended with an average finish of 4.8 out of 14.2 teams. Compare that to the first five events of the 2021 spring season—the Blue Devils did not compete last fall—and there is a noticeable improvement from an average finish of 6.4 out of 12.

That jump will be put to the test in 2022, as programs around the country will be looking to peak for conference tournaments and regional qualifying throughout the spring.

Siebers seizing his opportunities 

He does not have the highest finish of the fall season—that distinction belongs to fellow sophomore Jimmy Zheng, who turned in a tie for third at the hometown Rod Myers Invitational—but Ian Siebers has been the most dependable Duke golfer this semester. His scoring average of 70, if extrapolated over an entire season, would dethrone Alex Smalley’s 2018-19 campaign for the lowest in program history. 

By the numbers, Siebers improves after the first day, as his scoring average goes from 71 in round one, to 69.5 in rounds two and three. It is that type of closing ability that has the Washington native as the player to watch for when January rolls around. 

Chinn's early growth

Adding the No. 1 junior golfer to the program is certainly a luxury, and that’s exactly what head coach Jamie Green got when Kelly Chinn signed with the Blue Devils last November. The hype only grew when the then-incoming freshman secured medalist honors for the second time at the U.S. Junior Amateur this summer, joining Willie Wood, Jim Liu and Tiger Woods, who you may have heard of. So, how has Chinn fared so far in his college career? Well…

Through four starts, Chinn possesses the fifth-best scoring average on the roster at 72.8, 2.1 strokes ahead of sixth. For context, the lowest average among all freshmen in program history was posted by Ian Siebers last year, when the sophomore notched 71.1 strokes per round. Two strokes may not seem like a lot, but over three rounds in Georgia this weekend, those six shots accounted for the difference between third and thirteenth.  

The Virginia native clearly has the talent, evidenced by a metronomic swing and craftiness around the greens, but turning 77s into 74s and 74s into 71s will be the key going forward. 


Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.

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