Notebook: Paolini impressive for Duke
Duke senior Brinson Paolini shot 83 this summer. It’s not an impressive achievement for a starter on one of the nation’s top teams, until you consider that the right-handed Paolini was playing with left-handed clubs.
Turns out Paolini has been impressive from both sides of the ball recently. He’s No. 15 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after finishing in the top 20 in all seven starts this season, including four top 10s.
Duke head coach Jamie Green said Paolini’s success is due in part to the acceptance of one of golf’s most-used cliches. “He's done really well at taking it one shot at a time. It’s cliche, but it takes a while to sink in,” Green said. “It’s the hardest thing in golf to do.”
Duke is No. 9 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. The Blue Devils, known for March success in another sport, won this week’s Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate was its third of the season. The Blue Devils also won the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, hosted by rival North Carolina, and their own Rod Myers Invitational. Duke has used three lineups in its three victories.
Austin Cody, a senior, led the team with a second-place finish, while freshman Mads Soegaard finished third. Paolini finished 20th to extend his streak. Duke’s victory at the Hootie came nine days after alum Kevin Streelman won his first PGA Tour title at the Tampa Bay Championship.
Duke has finished in the top 25 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings in nine of the past 10 seasons.
Four of the Blue Devils’ top six players in the Golfweek rankings are seniors, led by 15th-ranked Paolini. Mads Soegaard, a freshman from Denmark, is next in the rankings at No. 102. All four seniors have grade-point averages above 3.0, Green said.
“The senior leaders lead the way,” Green said. “The older guys know what it takes to prepare to win and do their best.”
Duke, a school that’s seen its share of Final Fours, also made it to the final four of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship at Karsten Creek. The Blue Devils’ golf team has hopes of returning this year. The storied hoops team’s chances are still alive, as well. It faces Michigan State on Friday in the Sweet 16.
The Blue Devils failed to qualify for last year’s championship, finishing sixth at their regional. They finished three shots out of the fifth and final qualifying spot. The team struggled at the end of last season as Julian Suri, an All-American last season, played with a stress fracture in his right hand. He also had to sit out the summer amateur schedule. Suri is No. 152 in the Golfweek rankings this season, winning earlier this year at the Rod Myers Invitational.
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NO. 19 FOR CARPENTER: Abilene Christian's Alex Carpenter, the 2011 Jack Nicklaus Award winner as Division II's player of the year, won his 19th title March 26 at the Arkansas-Little Rock/First Tee Classic. The victory came at Chenal Country Club in Carpenter's hometown of Little Rock, Ark. Carpenter shot 2-over 218 to post a 10-shot victory.
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SHORT SHOTS: Oregon’s win at its own Duck Invitational was the team’s first victory of the season. Last year’s Oregon team, which included first-team All-Americans Eugene Wong and Daniel Miernicki, finished first seven times last year and was No. 7 in the final Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. ... Austin Peay won the Memphis Intercollegiate this week. The school said it might be “the program’s most prestigious regular-season tournament in decades.” The Governors beat a field that including six teams ranked in the top 100, including three top-50 teams, in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. It was the Governors’ fourth title this season. Austin Peay’s Dustin Korte earned his first victory at the event. He shot 2-over 218 to win by three shots. ... The C&F Bank Intercollegiate may have been shortened to one round because of snow, but Tennessee’s two-shot victory there was the Volunteers’ second win this spring. Tennessee is No. 27 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.