The Statue of Liberty resembles hope for the millions that see it every day. Hope lights the path forward from rough starts. Tuesday, it did just that as the statue set a backdrop for Duke’s winning performance.
Duke won its first tournament of the season at the Georgetown Intercollegiate in Jersey City, N.J. The Blue Devils shot even par with 864 strokes, nine strokes ahead of second-place Boston College, and defeated 11 total opponents while junior Ian Siebers finished in a tie for first place.
Even though the Blue Devils won first place overall, the 54-hole tournament was not an easy climb. Duke placed second on the first day Monday, with sporadic moments of uncertainty.
The Blue Devils struggled to find their footing. Duke sophomore John Peters triple-bogeyed the 11th and 15th holes in the second round as the Blue Devils were bombarded the first day with seven double-bogies.
“[Monday] we didn't finish off quite as solidly as I think we were capable,” head coach Jamie Green said.
The Blue Devils made a strong comeback on the second day Tuesday, finishing the tournament off with the most eagles and tied for the most birdies. Siebers led the way, collecting a personal-best two eagles in one tournament, propelling him to a first-place finish at 5-under.
“I had a good game plan and I tried to stick to it and stay calm,” Siebers said. “I knew that if I could get in good shots and stay patient, eagles and birdies would come … I think emotions can kind of bleed over and I think my time at Duke has really helped me grow.”
The difference between the days, according to Green, was more mental than physical.
“When things aren't working out and producing scoring like expected, a bad break turns into a bad particular score. Sometimes we're getting a little too impatient. We did a better job [Tuesday] taking things as they go,” Green said. “Attitude allowed for the better shots to come and for a clearer mindset to succeed.”
The payoff of that attitude was seen in Duke sophomore Luke Sample, a New York native. Sample fell short at the beginning of the tournament, getting off to a rough start before closing the tournament with three birdies in a row on holes 16, 17 and 18 during round three. The strong closing effort helped Sample close the gap with Siebers and moved the sophomore into a tie for 11th place overall.
Freshman Ethan Evans had his first career eagle at the Georgetown Intercollegiate and accounted for one of the Blue Devils’ five eagles at the event.
Even as the record-setting effort sets the stage for the rest of the season, the Blue Devils look to continue this momentum for their upcoming tournament at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate in Alpharetta, Ga., from Oct. 21-23.
“Each time you go out, you're focused on a new golf course. You never know how the other teams are going to play … We still have weeks to go,” Green said. “There's a lot a lot of time to work on things and clean things up even more.”
While being familiar with the golf course, the Blue Devils have challenges ahead of them in Georgia, as they finished eighth at the event a season ago.
“Winning a national championship would be at the top of the list,” Siebers said. “I think this win helps put us in the right direction there. Hopefully, we can gain confidence from it.”
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