BALL GROUND, Ga. — Duke posted a 4-1 win against No. 6 Illinois on Tuesday to win the 2011 Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship at Hawks Ridge Golf Club. Freshman Austin Cody, sophomores Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini and senior Wes Roach claimed wins in the final to give Duke its first title at the event.
“This is a big deal for our team to win this tournament,” said Roach. “Having three guys not lose a match with [Julian] Suri and Brinson [Paolini] going 4-0 and Austin [Cody] going 3-0-1 made us tough to beat as a team. It is huge any match that you can get a lead and hold it. It sent a positive energy through all of us and just flowed through the team.
“We were able to ask the coaches how each guy was doing and to use that on the course. The positive energy just flowed all week.”
Cody capped off a dominant tournament with a 5 and 4 victory against Mason Jacobs. Cody, a North Charleston, S.C. native, went 3-0-1 for the event with wins of 6 and 5, 4 and 3, 5 and 4.
On Tuesday, Cody was three-under on the 14 holes played, never trailed and never lost a hole in the match. After opening with a par on No. 4, he grabbed a 1-up lead with a par on the par-3 fifth hole. Cody birdied the par 5 seventh and parred No. 9 to go 3-up through six holes. The two players matched each other over the next six holes before Cody pushed the match to dormie with a par victory on No. 16. Cody capped off the tournament with a birdie on the par-4 17th hole to secure Duke’s first victory of the day.
“We played well as a team and we all played great together,” added Cody. “It wasn’t very close all week. We’ve all been working hard as a team, and we knew if we were patient, we would win. It gives us confidence for the rest of the season and on into postseason.”
Suri collected a 3 and 1 win against Thomas Pieters in the championship match to finish 4-0 for the tournament. He played the 17 holes at two-under with five birdies, 10 pars and three bogeys. Suri jumped to a 2-up through three holes following wins on No. 4 (birdie) and No. 5 (par). Pieters battled back to all square with victories on the par-4 sixth and 10th holes. Suri posted a birdie on the par-4 15th hole to move to 1-up and concluded the match with birdies on No. 18 and No. 1 to give Duke a 2-0 edge on the team scoreboard. Suri finished the tournament 3-0 overall and played the par-5 18th hole at six-under with two eagles and two birdies.
“This is a great win for us,” Suri said. “We played awesome golf as a team all week. It has been a long time coming and we want this to be the start of many more victories this season and in the future.”
Paolini recorded the championship clinching victory against Luke Guthrie, who is ranked 12th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The Virginia Beach, Va., native lost just two holes during the 2 and 1 victory against Guthrie. Paolini opened with a birdie on the par-4 first hole before falling back to all square with a double-bogey on No. 2. He recovered with three consecutive pars and regained a 1-up edge with a birdie on the par-4 sixth hole. Paolini added birdies on No. 11 and No. 14 to go 3-up with four holes remaining. Guthrie birdied the par-4 15th hole to keep the match alive but Paolini matched him shot for shot over the final two holes to secure the victory.
“Coach stressed in our meeting that we needed to be determined but that we needed to go out and really enjoy ourselves and compete,” said Paolini. “I enjoyed each round and the entire tournament. This is why we put in all the work we did in the offseason and to see it pay off is great. We stressed being positive and supporting each other. We were behind one another the whole week. It was pretty cool to root for each other, put in 150 percent each, and to come out with the victory.”
Roach battled throughout the day en route to a 1-up victory against the 2010 NCAA individual medalist Scott Langley. Langley birdied the par-4 first hole to grab an early lead but Roach countered with wins on No. 2 (par), No. 3 (birdie) and No. 4 (birdie) to go 2-up. Langley carded birdies on No. 6 and No. 13 to square the match and then moved in front with a birdie on No. 15. Roach closed in championship fashion with birdies on No. 17 and No. 18 to earn the victory and a fourth point for the Blue Devils. Roach, a Knoxville, Tenn., native, finished the round with a five-under 67.
“I was looking forward to playing Scott,” said Roach. “It did matter to me that he won NCAAs last year. I played with him the entire last round during NCAAs, and he kicked my butt that round (to win the individual title). He got up on me late, but I was able to birdie 17 and 18 to win the match. I didn’t know how we were doing as a team at that point so my mind set was to keep battling and try and win a point for us.”
Tim Gornik, a sophomore from Ljubljana, Slovenia, dropped his match to Chris DeForest, 3 and 2, on Tuesday. He grabbed an early lead and made the turn at all-square before running out of gas over the final seven holes. Gornik finished the event with a 3-1 record.