A trip to sunny Dorado Puerto Rico to open an action-packed spring season at the Dorado Beach Collegiate begins Sunday, setting the tone for what should be a bright season for the Duke. The Blue Devils are currently ranked 32nd in the country, but given their potential, there is no reason why head coach Jamie Green’s squad cannot climb the ranks. Freshmen Daniel Choi, Ethan Evans and William Love add young talent to a strong, senior-less Duke team. Junior Ian Siebers still remains the Blue Devil number one, but as the team showed in its two fall tournament victories, every player has the ability to score low in any given round.
“We’ve got a very talented team and also a very smart team,” Green told The Chronicle. “We’re going to face some of the top golf programs in the country this week in Virginia and Auburn, and I’m just excited to see how we play … When we’re playing well we can compete with these teams.”
New player to watch: William Love
Son of former Duke golfer David Love, William Love signed to Duke as the top-ranked golfer in Georgia by JGS and the 17th-ranked nationally. With a scoring differential of -5.34 in high school, Love has a gift for scoring low, which he showed in the fall when he finished tied for sixth at the Rod Myers Invitational in September 2022, his first collegiate tournament. The Atlanta native has the talent to be one of the best freshmen in the ACC this spring.
“We know we have a young team, but we’ve got a talented team,” Green said. “Players are players, and we have the ability to perform well on the course. For example, Kelly Chinn got here last year ranked number one, and he had some highs but also some lows last year, but he’s a talented golfer.”
Returning player to watch: Ian Siebers
After setting the Duke record for stroke average by a freshman at 71.1, Siebers once again led the Blue Devils in top-10 finishes (six) and top-20 finishes (seven) in his sophomore year. Entering this season, the Bellevue, Wa., native is expected to not only produce on the course but also to serve as a leader of this young Duke team. If his joint first-place finish at the Georgetown Intercollegiate in the fall is any indication of the coming season, Duke fans should have high hopes for success in ACC play.
“When I think about Ian, I think of him as a leader by example,” Green said. “He’s just going to do his thing, and it’s going to be the right example.”
Most anticipated event: Wake Forest Invitational, March 6-7
Whenever Duke plays Pinehurst No. 2, it is always an event to look forward to. Once again the home of the US Open in 2024, this course will be a grind. Last year, Duke placed second with a team score of 34-over, as former Duke standout Quinn Riley shot a tournament-low 65 on the final day and current junior Jimmy Zheng was also in red numbers, finishing third overall individually.
Pinehurst No. 2 is one of many difficult courses the Blue Devils will play on this spring. Given that this tournament is the second of the season, a solid showing could provide momentum for the rest of the season.
“We know we’re going to be playing some challenging courses and in some difficult conditions, but we don’t mind that,” said Green. “It won’t necessarily be easy, but we will embrace that challenge.”
The Blue Devils’ young squad reaches its potential. Green said that one word to best describe the current Duke team is “eager,” and it definitely could come out storming this season, earning multiple victories on the way to slotting in the top four at the ACC championship. The Blue Devils have no stress entering NCAA selection in May and put themselves in a position for an underdog run in NCAAs.
Duke never recovers from last year’s ninth-place ACC showing and struggles to put a cohesive tournament together. The team’s abundance of youth proves to be a hit on chemistry as opposed to a boost of confidence, and a challenging schedule does not provide the momentum to make a run come the postseason.
Marks: 4th in the ACC, NCAA Championship stroke play
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