Every week, the Blue Zone breaks down an outstanding spring athlete, looking at their weekly performance and their season as a whole. Up next is William Love:
Duke picked up its first tournament victory of the spring season and third this year at the Stitch Intercollegiate in Raleigh this past Tuesday. The 26th-ranked Blue Devils managed to shrug off a rain postponement to finish on top of the eight-team contest at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and claim their second-straight Stitch Intercollegiate championship. Four members of the team finished in the top 10 — including freshman William Love — who continued his stellar debut campaign with a record-setting second round.
Love’s second-round 62 was the best-ever score by a Duke freshman and tied for the third-best total score in school history. His 9-under par finish is tied for the best score to par by a freshman and is the second-best score to par in school history. He was able to earn a fourth-place finish despite shooting a 6-over 77 in the first round. This marked the third individual top-10 finish for Love in six tournaments this spring after placing seventh at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in March and winning the Dorado Beach Collegiate in February. His win was just one of just two individual first-place finishes this year by a Blue Devil, and just the sixth tournament victory by a freshman in program history. His 17-under 199 at the Sugarcane Course set a school record for score to par, and was also the first sub-200 score on a 54-hole course by a freshman.
The talented player from Atlanta was the top-ranked high schooler in his class from Georgia, and was named the 2021-2022 Georgia Athlete of the Year after winning the 101st Georgia Amateur Championship. The highly touted recruit — whose father David also played golf at Duke from 1991-1994 — has not disappointed in his first season. He hit the ground running by leading the team to a second-place finish at the Rod Myers Invitational, the first tournament of the year this past fall. Love currently owns the second-best average score versus par on the team with +0.13, and his current stroke average of 71.75 would rank 16th all time and second among freshmen. His eight rounds in the 60s and 13 under-par rounds rank third- and fourth-most, respectively, by Blue Devil freshmen all time.
Love will look to build on his successful rookie year as the Blue Devils prepare for the ACC championship, beginning April 21 in Pinehurst, N.C.
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